Arnold Bennett is a surprising author to link with Brighton. Most of his novels are set in his native Staffordshire, more precisely in the Potteries. However, Bennett lived for a time in Rottingdean,and began writing The Card trilogy in Brighton’s Royal Albion hotel in 1910. In the second part of the trilogy, Hilda runs a boarding house in Preston Street.
Charlotte Smith was an English Romantic poet and novelist. She initiated a revival of the English sonnet, helped establish the conventions of Gothic fiction, and wrote political novels of sensibility. Smith became involved with English radicals while she was living in Brighton from 1791 to 1793. Like them, she supported the French Revolution and its republican principles. Her epistolary novel Desmond tells the story of a man who journeys to revolutionary France and is convinced of the rightness of the revolution and contends that England should be reformed as well.
There are countless other novelists and novels associated with Brighton, Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, Henry James The Golden Bowl and William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair, to name but a few. However, I guess no canter through Brighton associated literature, however brief, would be complete without a passing reference to Graham Greene's Brighton Rock. Definitely not one of my favourite novels, but one which helped to firmly establish the seedy side of Brighton in the public's consciousness.