George Gissing’s By the Ionian Sea (1901) as a Paradise of Idleness

  • Heidi LiedkeEmail author


In this chapter, Liedke turns to Gissing’s nostalgic account of his visit to Magna Graecia, embedding it in the debate around fin-de-siècle cosmopolitanism and an experience of “the South.” The chapter then develops that it is Gissing’s idly rambling imagination that enables him to go both on an actual journey and a virtual one to the past. Liedke especially focuses on the role of emotional reappropriation and affection that is central to Gissing’s response to the past. Connecting Gissing’s position as an idle onlooker who is separated both from the landscape when he is on a train and the landscape of the past to the position of the traveller in De Certeau’s “Railway Navigation and Incarceration,” the chapter argues that the boundaries between “real” and “unreal” blur in Gissing’s book and that he, by relying exclusively on the unabashedly subjective, creates a “history effect” in his writing.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Koblenz-LandauLandauGermany
  2. 2.Queen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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