Winner of the Modern Language Association’s Morton N. Cohen Award for a Distinguished Edition of Letters
Gissing's career, which spanned the period of about 1877 to his death in 1903, was characterized by prodigious output (almost a novel a year in the early days), modest recognition, and modest income. He wrote of poverty, socialism, class differences, social reform, and later on, about the problems of women and industrialization. His best known works are New Grub Street (1891) and Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft (1903), rich sources of social commentary that reflect a literary transition from the Victorian to the modern period.
For many years, the only Gissing letters available to the public were a handful written to his family published in 1927. Now the editors have culled widely scattered sources—private and public collections, journals, newspapers, memoirs, biographies, and sales catalogs—to gather and organize Gissing's correspondence, including letters to him, and to provide an editorial context.
Volume four begins when Gissing is in Florence, elated to be making a cultural pilgrimage that also took him to Greece the following winter, then briefly back to Italy. The Nether Worldis published in the spring of 1889, and The Emancipated the following spring. But by 1891, his mood is altogether different. His relationships with his family continue to be conflicted and he is increasingly disenchanted with his publishers and his half-hearted marriage to Edith Underwood.
Paul F. Mattheisen is associate professor of English, SUNY, Binghamton.
Arthur C. Young is professor emeritus of English at Russell Sage College.
Pierre Coustillas is professor of English, University of Lille, France.
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