Once seen as a relatively marginal figure, George Gissing (1857-1903) persists in sparking interest among new generations of radical critics who continue to be inspired by his work and to develop fresh approaches to it. This essay collection, bringing together British, European, and North American literary critics and cultural historians with diverse specialities and interests, demonstrates the range of contemporary perspectives through which his fiction can be viewed. Offering both closely contextualized historical readings and broader cultural and philosophical assessments, the contributions will engage not only the specialist but those interested in the diverse themes that absorbed Gissing: the cultural and social formation of class and gender, social mobility and its unsettling effects on individual and collective identities, the place of writing in emerging mass culture, and the possibilities and limits of fiction as critical intervention.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: Gissing's critical contexts, Martin Ryle and Jenny Bourne Taylor; Blatherwicks and busybodies: Gissing on the culture of philanthropic slumming, Diana Maltz; Her appearance in public: sexual danger, Urban Space and the Working Woman, Emma Liggins; 'Just a Morsel to Stay Your Appetite': Gissing and the Cultural Politics of Food, Scott McCracken; The Strange Case of Godwin Peak: Double Consciousness in Born in Exile, Jenny Bourne Taylor; Sex and the City: Gissing, Helmholtz, Freud, David Glover; The Discontents of Everyday Life: Civilization and the Pathology of Masculinity in The Whirlpool, Simon J. James; Whirlpools of Modernity: European Naturalism and the Urban Phantasmagoria, Deborah Parsons; 'To show a man of letters': Gissing, cultural authority and literary modernism, Martin Ryle; New Grub Street's self-consciousness, Christina Lupton and Tilman Reitz; The voice of the unclassed: Gissing and 20th-century English fiction, Patrick Parrinder; Index.
Martin Ryle is Senior Lecturer in Continuing Education at the Univesity of Sussex.