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New Grub Street (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – December 1, 2016
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About the Author
Katherine Mullin lectures in English at the University of Leeds. She is the author of James Joyce, Sexuality and Social Purity (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and Working Girls: Fiction, Sexuality and Modernity, forthcoming from Oxford University Press in 2016.
- Publisher : Oxford University Press; 2nd edition (December 1, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 528 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0198729189
- ISBN-13 : 978-0198729181
- Lexile measure : 970L
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 7.7 x 0.9 x 5.1 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #214,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Gissing (1857-1903) lived a difficult life. He married twice; his first wife was a prostitute and he spent a year in hard labor for the crime of stealing money to support her. The young Yorkshireman then lived in America for a year returning to England to eke out a life in literature. He met Thomas Hardy and became a friend of HG Wells. Critics have labelled him the English Zola due to his naturalistic style of prose. He lacks the humor of Dickens and his novels are trips into the dark poverty stricken world of London.
New Grub Street refers to an area of London where a good deal of literary activity took place and publishing firms had their headquarters. The long novel has two main stories :
1. We see the decline of Edwin Reardon an educated man whose novels do not sell. His wife Amy Yule leaves him due to his failure to make a proper living for her and their child Willie.
2. We follow the life of Marion Yule the daughter of a boring pedant who requires her to work on literary work in the British Museum. She falls madly in love with Jasper after becoming friends with his two sisters Maude and Dora. Jasper in a journalist and short story writer whose main aim is to win a good living and marry a wealthy woman.
The novel is bleak and depressing but it does shine a light on the methods of writing a novel. The novel was based on Gissing's own career. He is especially good at dialogue between his characters.
. The Oxford Library's new paperback formats are well done.
Top reviews from other countries
In an essay in 1943, George Orwell pronounced Gissing to be "......perhaps the best novelist England has produced." Whether or not you agree with this seemingly sweeping statement, I reckon that "New Grub Street" will, at the very least, persuade you that Orwell did not make it entirely without reason.
It did take a while to "get into" the book - for the first 20-30 or so pages there seemed to me to be a confusing number of characters setting the stage. It also took me a while to realise that "Jasper" and "Mr Milvain" were one and the same person. But the persistence was worth it.
There are clearly autobiographical aspects to the book in terms of some of the sensitivities and struggles of some of his characters. Poignantly there was a prophetic aspect in terms of Reardon's fate compared to Gissing himself. Unfortunately some of the struggles Gissing writes about were experienced by himself (I recommend Paul Delaney's biography). Nevertheless his experiences also helped provide him with some of the amazing material for this book.