chapter  9
12 Pages

New Grub Street’s Self-Consciousness

WithChristina Lupton, Tilman Reitz

Early on in New Grub Street, the aspirant literary critic and journalist Jasper Mil vain tells his future lover, Marian Yule, that he '"shall do many base thing in life, just to get money and reputation"'. But Marian's initial, sympathetic interpretation of Jasper's declaration remains pivotal in thinking about New Grub Street in the context of its own candour. By vividly detailing the commodification of literature, New Grub Street shares Marian's investment in the possibility that an open declaration of economic motivation functions as more than an act of self-indictment. John Goode reads Jasper Milvain's rationality as the unchallenged framework for Gissing's presentation of London's aspirant writers and critics, all of whom struggle to produce an increasingly market-oriented kind of literature. Milvain and Reardon so frequently express verdicts about their own work and actions that are in agreement with the perspective of the narrator that it is easy to forget the special property of self-consciousness Gissing has granted his characters.