[BENNETT, Arnold (1867-1931)]. Collection of letters relating to a literary biography of Bennett by J.B. Simons, and comprising letters addressed to Simons, 1936-1937, by: George Bernard SHAW (letter signed, one page, 8vo), H.G. WELLS (2 autograph letters signed, 2 pages, 4to), John MASEFIELD (letter signed, 2 pages, 8vo, with a printed poem, 'The Song of Gaspar', signed and inscribed), Vera BRITTAIN, Marguerite BENNETT (first wife of Arnold Bennett, 14 autograph letters signed, the majority in French), and others, and letters referring to John Buchan by W. Somerset MAUGHAM, Gilbert Murray, Lionel Curtis and Lord Kilmuir; together with J.B. Simons, Arnold Bennett and his Novels (Oxford: 1936) and a memoir of Louis Golding by Simons, and a collection of photographs of authors.
Both Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells write about the prospect of a civil list pension for Marguerite Bennett: Shaw is willing to sign a letter to the Prime Minister 'provided the number of signatories is sufficient to avoid giving any special prominence to my name ... The popular notion that I enjoy an immense political influence is a delusion'; he refers Simons to H.G. Wells. The latter comments on the case that 'her published reminiscences of [Bennett] will hardly help her in this matter'. Marguerite Bennett writes to thank Simons for underlining 'that Arnold was above all an artist and a great writer', and to contradict a statement in Dorothy Cheston's book about the circumstances of her first meeting with Bennett; later letters discuss the prospects of a civil list pension, her slender income from Bennett's royalties, and her efforts to make a living by taking in lodgers.
Bennett married Marie Marguerite (née Soulié) in Paris in 1907; by 1912 he had moved back to London, and the marriage was effectively at an end; little is known of her life after this. He lived with Dorothy Cheston from 1923 until his death. (41)