New Grub Street (Annotated)

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George Gissing, New Grub Street

Information This entry was posted on January 13, by Moira in Entries by Moira , Fiction: 19th century , journalism and tagged George Gissing , journalism , publishing industry , women's emancipation , writing. Navigation Previous post. Next post. Vulpes Libris wants to savelibraries! Search for:. Contemporary reviews of the 'Diary'. Evelyn Waugh annotates the 'Diary'.

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New Grub Street by George Gissing

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A night market in the slums 'Workers in the Dawn'. A politician on social realities 'Denzil Quarrier'. A sunset at Athens 'New Grub Street'. Biffen's suicide 'New Grub Street'. Burying the poor 'Demos'. Crouch End horrors 'The Nether World'. Io Saturnalia! His earliest novels, Workers in the Dawn, Mrs. Grundy's Enemies , and The Unclassed , conformed to the three volume convention.

In A Life's Morning he tried to create a two volume novel but the publishers demanded three.

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In he had optimistically written his brother, "It is fine to see how the old three volume tradition is being broken through. One volume is becoming commonest of all. It is the new school. However his next novel, The Nether World , was also forced to be in the conventional form. In he had to add an extra fourteen-page penultimate chapter to the three volume Born in Exile ; the extra chapter expanded what had been brief remarks by a female protagonist on why she did not wish to marry a man born in a poorer class.

Yet Gissing strove for a dramatic rather than an omniscient narrative presentation, in some ways closer to a spare, modernist style, and these elaborations were in his opinion flaws. He described his preferred "dramatic mode of presentment": "Far more artistic, I think, is the. The old novelist is omniscient; I think it is better to tell a story precisely as one does in real life, hinting, surmising, telling in detail what can so be told and no more.

When Gissing intended to reprint his first novel, Workers in the Dawn , he cut dialogue, descriptions and authorial coments, including 22 pages of dialogue and 14 pages of description, and omitted generalized conversation from fear of being stigmatized as a "realist" by the critical world. Gissing's is thus one of the most clearly documented cases of a major author forced to meet demands of a form repugnant to him.

Smith, Elder and Co. Grundy's Enemies with the comment, "It exhibits a great deal of dramatic power,. Mudie's Library. A radical change occurred in the mids, however, as cheaper modes of publication arose. In three decker novels appeared, but in , only seven! With the breakdown of the circulating library system, novels became shorter and less expensive.

I find the identification of author and character at times obtrusive, and the moral excessively underlined e. Jasper seems too self-accusing, George Gissing, New Grub Street , New Grub Street is one of a very few novels which deal with the difficulties of the work life, and with the systematic distortions of literary production caused by marketplace conditions. Chapter 1: What function is served by the opening scene in which Jasper quarrels with his sister Maud? What major themes are introduced? How is our view of Edwin Reardon affected by the fact that we first learn of him through Jasper's description?

What is distinctive about Jasper's character and views? What kinds of writings does he aspire to produce, and how is are his talents and goals contrasted with those of Reardon and Biffen? What makes him as effective and successful as he is? What do we learn about the family finances from Maud's reaction to her brother? What proportion of the family income is represented by pounds per annum? What wider social pattern is Gissing calling to the reader's attention? Chapter 2: What do we learn about the Yule family through hearsay?

The 100 best novels: No 28 – New Grub Street by George Gissing (1891)

From narrative flashbacks? What forms of literary effort are critiqued or parodied by the account of Arthur Yule's life? What do we learn of the Yules and Milvains from the account of their visits? What do the visitors make of John Yule's hostility to reading? Chapter 3: What insights are provided by the scene in which Jasper and Marian view a passing railroad train? Are there elements of foreshadowing in this scene? How would you characterize the novel's narrative voice? Through what means does the author make his points? Which characters are granted the most chance to express themselves, or represented most fully from within?

What purpose is served by gossip and indirection in the novel's construction? What is the relation between Edwin's literary fate and his physical and mental condition? If you had learned nothing about Gissing's politics from background sources, would you guess them from any authorial responses in the novel? What are his goals? Does he question the definition of respectability and success--a dependent wife, servants, and a good establishment? admin