chapter  57
Unsigned review, Saturday Review, May 1891
Pages 1

The dwellers in New Grub Street as drawn by Mr George Gissing, are neither wholly saints nor wholly sinners; and it is this very complexity of their characters which, as the story develops, keeps our interest almost painfully alive. Jasper Milvain, of the facile pen and the yet more facile conscience, Edwin Reardon and Harold Biffen, the unpractical dreamers, even the worldly and apparently heartless Amy Reardon-all are instinct with life, not the lay figures of the ordinary three-volumed novel. The book is almost terrible in its realism, and gives a picture, cruelly precise in every detail, of this commercial age. The degradation of art by the very necessity of its 'paying its way' is put forward with merciless plainness. The bitter uselessness ofattempting a literary career unless you are prepared to consult the market,