Interpretations on an Interior

Angharad Saunders, Jon Anderson

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This article explores the relationship between place and page in the context of Arnold Bennett’s (1867-1931) writing practice. Bennett is, perhaps, most famous for being the subject of Virginia Woolf’s critique of Edwardian detailism, which in its tendency to describe characters through a meticulous inventory of homes and interiors missed, in Woolf’s view, the vitality of life. Yet Bennett’s literary detailism is intriguing for what it suggests about the role that his own interiors and interiority play in the production of literary texts. Drawing on the work of Diana Fuss (2004), which urges us to consider the significance of the material spaces of composition to the shaping of intellectual labour, this paper examines how the materiality of Bennett’s interiors, particularly that of his French home Les Néfliers, was a powerful partner in his writing practice. Through an
exploration of where Bennett wrote and how his places of writing were arranged and decorated, this article considers how material design and spatial order were integral agents in Bennett’s literary composition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-194
Number of pages21
JournalLiterary Geographies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • literary practice
  • interior
  • Arnold Bennett
  • literary geography


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