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Joan (Aline) Bennett (Frankau)

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Arthur Frankau and Julia Frankau
Wife of Henry Stanley Bennett
Sister of Gilbert Frankau; Ronald Frankau and Paul Ewart Frankau

Managed by: Simon Goodman
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Joan Bennett

Joan Bennett (1896-1986), also known as Joan Frankau and born Aline Frankau, was a Cambridge literary scholar and critic. She was among the "constellation of critics" called by the defence in the Lady Chatterley Trial of D. H. Lawrence.[1]


   1 Life and career
   2 Works
   3 Further reading
   4 References and Notes

Life and career

Bennett was the daughter of London cigar importer Arthur Frankau (1849-1904) and writer Julia Frankau (1859-1916).[2] Though she was known as Joan throughout her life, she was christened Aline.[3] She married the Cambridge literary historian Henry Stanley Bennett (1889-1972) in 1920.[4]

As a don at Girton College, Cambridge, Bennett wrote one of the first critical studies of Virginia Woolf.[5]

As one of the expert witnesses in the Lady Chatterley Trial, she helped counter the arguments of the prosecution by confirming Lawrence's reputation as a novelist, that the work was more than a description of sexual encounters, and that Lawrence's repeated use of ‘four-letter words’ were justified by literary intent.[6] It is interesting to note that Bennett's mother had earlier been credited by Mrs Belloc Lowndes with having been "one of the very few to recognise the genius of D. H. Lawrence".[7] Works

Publications by Joan Bennett include—

   Four Metaphysical Poets – Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, Crashaw, Cambridge University Press 1934
   Virginia Woolf – Her Art as a Novelist, Cambridge University Press 1945
   George Eliot – Her Mind and her Art, Cambridge University Press 1948
   Sir Thomas Browne – "A Man of Achievement in Literature", Cambridge University Press 1962
   Five Metaphysical Poets – Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, Crashaw, Marvell, Cambridge University Press 1964

Further reading

   C. H. Rolph (ed.), The Trial of Lady Chatterley: Regina v. Penguin Books Limited, Penguin Books 1961
   Aryeh Newman, "From exile to exit: the Frankau Jewish connection", The Jewish Quarterly Vol. 34 No. 4 (128), 1987
   Todd M. Endelman, "The Frankaus of London: A Study in Radical Assimilation, 1837-1967", Jewish History Vol. 8 Nos 1-2, 1994
   Derek Brewer, A list of his writings presented to H. S. Bennett on his eightieth birthday, 15th January 1969, Cambridge University Press 1969

References and Notes

Squires, Michael (ed.) (1993). Lady Chatterley's Lover and "À Propos of Lady Chatterley's Lover". Cambridge University Press. pp. xxxviii–xxxix. Rubenstein, William D. (2011). The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230304666. Gilbert Frankau, Self-Portrait, Hutchinson 1940 p82 Gilbert Frankau, Self-Portrait, Hutchinson 1940 p234 Roden, Frederick S. Jewish/Christian/Queer: Crossroads and Identities Queer Interventions, Ashgate Publishing, 2009 ISBN 0754673758, p. 183 Carter, Phillip. "Lady Chatterley's Lover trial (act. 1960)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Mrs Belloc Lowndes, The Merry Wives of Westminster, Macmillan 1946 p62

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Joan Bennett's Timeline