A newly discovered novel, set in the Potteries. Charles Francis Keary‘s The Mount (1909) is set in his home place of Stoke-on-Trent…
“The scene of The Mount is that part of Staffordshire where the towns lie beneath an almost unbroken pall of smoke, and the chemicals with which the air is laden bite into the face of Nature, pitting, discolouring, and withering everything. Those who were not tied to the place by industrial connexions have fled before the blight, and a new ‘aristocracy’ has arisen…” [it’s not for everyone, such as] “the hasty reader whose palate cannot taste fine shades of flavour will perceive no reason for the insistence on minute differences of tone and meaning. Mr. Keary does not write for him, and is, we suspect, splendidly indifferent to his judgement.” (The Spectator review, 4th September 1909).
Sadly the 300-page book is utterly obscure and unobtainable. Keele Local Collection doesn’t even have it. I didn’t even know about it, re: my recent survey of local novels (FactoryMag #1). There’s one copy in the British Library, and a Google-scanned copy in Hathi is on an annoying and unnecessary copyright lockdown.
C. F. Keary was the son of the borough of Stoke-on-Trent’s first Mayor, and the brother of the local folklore collector Miss Keary. His book of weird tales was admitted by James Joyce to have been an influence on Dubliners.