WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ANTHONY QUINNGrub Street - where would-be writers aim high, publishers plumb the depths and literature is a trade, never a calling.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ANTHONY QUINN
Grub Street - where would-be writers aim high, publishers plumb the depths and literature is a trade, never a calling. In a literary world disfigured by greed and explotation, two very different writers rise and fall- Edward Reardon, a novelist whose high standards prevent him from pandering to the common taste, and Jasper Milvain, who possesses no such scruples. Gissing's dark and darkly funny novel presents a little-seen but richly absorbing slice of nineteeth-century society.
George Robert Gissing was born on 22 November 1857 in Yorkshire. His father, a chemist, died when Gissing was twelve, leaving his family in relative poverty. However, Gissing won a scholarship to Owens College, Manchester and was destined for university, until he was caught stealing and sentenced to a month's hard labour. He was stealing in order to support Nell Harrison, a prostitute with who he had fallen in love, and whom he married on his return from imprisonment and a short sojourn in America in 1877. He worked as a private tutor while writing his first novel, Workers in the Dawn, which was published in 1880 to little acclaim. Gissing's marriage became increasingly unhappy and he separated from Nell in 1883 - she died several years later. Six more novels followed between 1884 and 1889, which were also largely overlooked, but allowed Gissing to fund a long-held ambition to visit Italy in 1889. In 1890 he married again, and in the following year published his most famous work, New Grub Street, and three more novels which won him moderate literary acclaim- The Odd Women, Born in Exile and In the Year of Jubilee. In 1897, already suffering from the emphysema that would eventually end his life, and separated from his second wife and children, Gissing met and fell in love with his French translator, Gabrielle Fleury. Unable to obtain a divorce, he moved to live with her in France. There he wrote several more novels, travel books and a life of Dickens. George Gissing died at St Jean-de-Luz in France on 28 December 1903, aged forty-six.
"New Grub Street...remains to this day the most devastating fictive portrayal of the conflict between materialism and idealism in the literary and journalistic worlds" Washington Post "It is George Gissing's triumph, in New Grub Street to have written a novel about writing for a living which is as graphic, as realistic and as dispiriting in its way as anything written by Emile Zola on the plight of coalminers" Sunday Times "New Grub Street is not a very cheerful book, but as a study in the pathology of the literary life it is unequalled, and still surprisingly relevant" -- David Lodge Independent "At his best Gissing is a very subtle psychologist, and his best scenes emerge out of a painstaking unravelling of human motivation... His work has a kind of integrity, a sort of emotional jaggedness, sufficient to set it apart from most of the comfortable productions of the late-Victorian reading-room" -- DJ Taylor Independent "New Grub Street has an ominously up-to-date air" Independent
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