Introduction: Gissing’s Critical Contexts
George Gissing, who was born in the heyday of the Victorian era and died at the dawn of the twentieth century, he himself stressed the need to historicize the conditions which shape a writer's work, position and 'public', both in New Grub Street and in his study of Dickens, and while critics have highlighted the contexts – cultural, political and discursive – that shape the parameters of his writing and the paradigms for reading it, he does not passively fit into any of them. Since Gissing's oeuvre began to be republished in the 1960s, his work has been discussed in several critical monographs devoted more or less exclusively to him. The critical engagements that the authors have been reviewing address many broad questions of cultural history – relations between writers and audiences under conditions of 'commodification'. The problematic sub-texts of Gissing's work, which makes it doubly rewarding for the kinds of critical attention is presented in this book.