The Odd Women

By George Gissing ; Patricia Ingham | Go to book overview

NOTE ON THE TEXT

Gissing wrote The Odd Women in the course of 1892 with great difficulty. It was published on 10 April 1893 by Lawrence and Bullen who, in February 1892, had published his novel Denzil Quarrier. These were publishers who, as he told his friend Eduard Bertz in a letter dated 16 February 1892, had behaved 'generously' over that novel. Consequently he was pleased that they had asked for 'a chance of publishing my next book'. His account of the new novel in the same letter does not describe the novel in the form in which it was finally published:

The book I now have in mind is to deal with the great question of 'throwing pearls before swine'. It will present those people who, congenitally incapable of true education, have yet been taught to consider themselves too good for manual or any humble, work. As yet I have chiefly dealt with types expressing the struggle of natures above their stations; now I turn to those who are below it. The story will be a study of vulgarism--the all but triumphant force of our time. Women will be the chief characters.1

This simplistic account is not an accurate template for The Odd Women--apart from its final sentence.

Presumably that complex and multi-faceted narrative developed through the ten or so false starts that Gissing records in his Diary. According to Michael Collie, Gissing's later statement that he wrote the novel between 18 August and 4 October shows, as do his comments on his other works, that when he says that he wrote a work in a set period 'he refers, not to the total time during which he was in some sense working on the book, but rather to the intense, final but much shorter period in which he produced the version of the novel actually submitted to the publisher'.2

Certainly the Diary records a wretched period for Gissing both domestically and in terms of work: 'Laboured at my first pages'; 'Have abandoned novel again'; 'worked out a few ideas'; 'wrote 1p.,

____________________
1
The Collected Letters of George Gissing, P. F. Matthiesen, A. C. Young, and P. Coustillas ( Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1994), v. 11.
2
M. Collie, George Gissing: a Bibliographical Study ( Winchester, St Paul's Bibliographies, 1985), 60.

-xxvi-

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The Odd Women
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • THE ODD WOMEN i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vi
  • Introduction vii
  • NOTE ON THE TEXT xxvi
  • SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY xxviii
  • A CHRONOLOGY OF GEORGE GISSING xxx
  • Contents 4
  • 1 - The Fold and the Shepherd 5
  • 2 - Adrift 11
  • 3 - An Independent Woman 25
  • 4 - Monica's Majority 31
  • 5 - The Casual Acquaintance 46
  • 6 - A Camp of the Reserve 59
  • 7 - A Social Advance 72
  • 8 - Cousin Everard 87
  • 9 - The Simple Faith 100
  • 10 - First Principles 110
  • 11 - At Nature's Bidding 120
  • 12 - Weddings 130
  • 13 - Discord of Leaders 142
  • 14 - Motives Meeting 155
  • 15 - The Joys of Home 167
  • 16 - Health from the Sea 181
  • 17 - The Triumph 194
  • 18 - A Reinforcement 209
  • 19 - The Clank of the Chains 219
  • 20 - The First Lie 227
  • 21 - Towards the Decisive 235
  • 22 - Honour in Difficulties 247
  • 23 - In Ambush 262
  • 24 - Tracked 271
  • 25 - The Fate of the Ideal 281
  • 26 - The Unideal Tested 297
  • 27 - The Reascent 310
  • 28 - The Burden of Futile Souls 325
  • 29 - Confession and Counsel 338
  • 30 - Retreat with Honour 352
  • 31 - A New Beginning 362
  • EXPLANATORY NOTES 372
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