Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) was one of the most versatile, ambitious and successful British novelists of the early 20th century. His novels and short stories both celebrate and deplore a rapidly changing Britain. Much of his greatest work is set where he grew up, in the Potteries of the West Midlands. Inspired by Zola and Maupassant, he realized that this world of brutal industrial work and rapid social change, religious severity and material temptation, was the perfect backdrop for everything from comedy to tragedy. He died of typhoid.