chapter  52
Unsigned review, Whitehall Review, April 1891
Pages 1

Mr Gissing's newest literary triumph is a singularly skilful piece of work, and proves how true a prophetic vision was ours when, on reading his first book a few years ago, we proclaimed him to be a man of no mean parts, with a great future, if he never deviated from the course he was commencing to hew for himself in the path of fame. Since then he has never disappointed us, and each fresh work he has published has been better and stronger than the one which preceded. In New Grub Street we perceive the same masterly and original analysis ofcharacter, and the same truth of description, as in the other remarkable stories he has told us. He has a profound and intense sympathy with the lives and the sufferings of men and women, a wonderful insight into their hearts and souls, and an almost unparalleled directness of speech in expressing what most authors fail to convey-a sense of perfect reality. Critics and the public will grumble that the book is sad, morbid, gloomy; well, so is life, or at least that phase of life of which Mr Gissing writes. The book is one long, desolate tragedythe tragedy of helpless human nature in its struggle with the great forces ofthe universe. It is so sad because it is so real. Mr Gissing points out with a truthful and realistic force what every sensible person cannot fail to recognise-that it is not the man who aims nobly who succeeds; that when punishment follows wrongdoing, it is not as retribution. The teaching ofthe whole book is that it is as well to follow duty, but on the clear understanding that no reward is the result. The motiveforces of the book are :-Life, which suffers so much, and has no respite until death steps in to help; faith, which dies hard, after an agonising struggle against circumstance; love, which gives all, and gains nothing in return. And to these motive-forces Mr Gissing has