Gissing and the Demise of the Man at Work
DOI link for Gissing and the Demise of the Man at Work
Gissing and the Demise of the Man at Work book
This chapter focuses on the loss of class status for the ‘professional’ writer in a marketplace dominated by women and men who define themselves in economic rather than artistic terms. The cartoons in Anderson’s book on Victorian clerks represent graphically the fear that also informs Gissing’s novels, that the entry of women into the marketplace, combined with the mechanization of writing, directly threatens the ‘man at work.’ The death of Reardon symbolizes the demise of work as an exclusively masculine enterprise, and registers Gissing’s pessimism about the status of the male writer as more and more women entered the workforce. Working as a clerk takes him out of the domestic sphere and realigns him with the world of masculine work; unfortunately his move also aligns him with the lower-middle-class, while Gissing portrays Amy as having aspirations to higher social status.