Oddness and Typicality: The Odd Women

  • John Sloan


In a letter written to his German friend, Eduard Bertz, in February 1892, Gissing outlined his plans for a new novel:

The book I now have in mind is to deal with the great question of ‘throwing pearls before swine’. It will present those people who, congenitally incapable of true education, have yet been taught to consider themselves too good for manual, or any humble, work. As yet I have chiefly dealt with types expressing the struggles of nature endowed above their station; now I turn to those who are below it. The story will be a study of vulgarism — the all but triumphant force of our time. Women will be the chief characters.1


Cultural Challenge True Education Seaside Resort Wilful Blindness Sexual Hierarchy 
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  1. 2.
    Lloyd Fernando, ‘New Women’ in the Late Victorian Novel (1977).Google Scholar
  2. 14.
    John Goode, ‘The Art of Fiction: Walter Besant and Henry James’, Tradition and Tolerance in Nineteenth-Century Fiction (1966) 243–81.Google Scholar
  3. 16.
    See Harriet Martineau, ‘Female Industry’, Edinburgh Review, CCXXII (April 1859).Google Scholar
  4. 17.
    See W. R. Greg, ‘Why are Women Redundant?’, National Review, XIV (April 1862) 434–60.Google Scholar
  5. 18.
    Alison Cotes, ‘New Women and Odd Women’, Gissing Newsletter, XIV (April 1978) 1 – 20.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Sloan 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Sloan
    • 1
  1. 1.Lecturer in EnglishBalliol CollegeOxfordUK

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