Unsettled Accounts: Money and Narrative in the Novels of George Gissing

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Anthem Press, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 200 pages
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Simon J. James examines how Gissing's work reveals an unhappy accommodation with money's underwriting of human existence and culture, and how daily life in all its forms - moral, intellectual, familial and erotic - is transcended or made irrelevant by its commodification. Novels such as 'New Grub Street' expose high culture's dependence on the ruthless Darwinism of late Victorian capitalism: literary and personal success can only be achieved by understanding and adapting to the immanent and irresistible nature of a market hostile to the development of human self-betterment. Situated against nineteenth-century analyses of monetary relations by thinkers such as Ruskin, Mill, Marx and Carlyle, and novels by Dickens, Eliot and Hardy, 'Unsettled Accounts' demonstrates how Gissing's work is engagedly modern, dealing as it does with changes in the nature of the literary market, advertising, imperialism, the New Woman and the condition of the working classes. This groundbreaking new study, published 100 years after Gissing's death, will be of considerable interest to students, researchers and scholars. A valuable introduction to Gissing's work, it claims a prominent place for him in fin-de-siecle Victorian literature.


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Gissings Critical Writing
The Early Novels
Gissings Major Phase
The Later Novels

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About the author (2003)

Dr Simon J Jamesis Lecturer in Victorian Literature in the Department of English Studies at the University of Durham. He is the author of essays in the collectionsA Garland for Gissing(Rodopi, 2001) andGeorge Gissing: Voices of the Unclassed(Ashgate, 2005) and of articles on H G Wells and Charles Dickens. He has also edited Volume 2 ofThe Collected Works of George Gissing,Charles Dickens: A Critical Studyand four H G Wells novels in Penguin Classics. His research interests include Victorian fiction, masculinity in literature and contemporary writing.