Introduction: Gissing and the Victorian Novel

  • Adrian Poole


None of Gissing’s work is unflawed by his merely personal prejudices and temperament, but to focus attention on them as Virginia Woolf did when she described him as a writer with whom ‘we establish a personal rather than an artistic relationship’,1 can obscure the objective achievement. The brief biographical account that follows, therefore, offers a critical introduction to some of the elements in Gissing’s life that shaped his imaginative outlook, rather than an explanation to the terms of which all his work can be reduced.


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  1. 1.
    Virginia Woolf, ‘George Gissing’, Collected Essays, I (1966) p. 297.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Quoted by B. Dobell, Introduction to James Thomson (‘B.V.’), Poetical Works, ed. Dobell (1895) I, pp. lii–liii.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    John Spiers and Pierre Coustillas, The Rediscovery of George Gissing (1971) p. 16. See also Tindall, Born Exile, pp. 47–56.Google Scholar
  4. 11.
    See Pierre Coustillas, ‘George Gissing à Manchester’, Etudes Anglaises, XVI (July-Sep 1963) 254–61.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    Austin Harrison, ‘George Gissing’, Nineteenth Century, LX (Sep 1906) 458-9.Google Scholar
  6. 18.
    John Gross, Introduction to New Grub Street (Bodley Head, 1967) p. v; hereafter abbreviated to NGS.Google Scholar
  7. 22.
    Wanda Neff, Victorian Working Women (1929) ch. V, ‘The Governess’.Google Scholar
  8. 33.
    Max Nordau, Degeneration (Popular ed., 1913) p. 39.Google Scholar
  9. 36.
    Guinevere Griest, Mudie’s Circulating Library and the Victorian Novel (Indiana, 1971).Google Scholar

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© Adrian Poole 1975

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  • Adrian Poole

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