Letters of George Gissing to Members of His Family

Letters of George Gissing to Members of His Family

Letters of George Gissing to Members of His Family

Letters of George Gissing to Members of His Family

Excerpt

"Foolishly arrogant as I was," wrote my father in The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, "I used to judge the worth of a person by his intellectual power and attainment. I could see no good where there was no logic, no charm where there was no learning. Now I think that one has to distinguish between two forms of intelligence, that of the brain, and that of the heart, and I have come to regard the second as by far the more important." These words will not infrequently be re- called to the minds of all who read the letters included in this volume. A book similar in character to that from which the above extract has been taken was contemplated by the author towards the end of his life; but death came before it could be written. In it were to be set forth his ideas as further modified by experience. He realised that there was need of another work in which his gradually changing view of things might find expression; and it is indeed unfortunate that such a project was never carried out, for we know comparatively little of his mental development in later days. The letters assuredly reveal some change of attitude, yet of his inner thoughts we are but rarely given a glimpse; and we cannot but regret that we have not been allowed some more definite knowledge of his maturer judgments.

At the beginning of his career my father suffered a great loss in the untimely death of William, a younger brother of great promise, who, had he lived longer, might have been the means of directing the course of his life into smoother channels. Yet he faced the struggle with unflinching courage and with a determination such as but few have ever shown.

The letters have been allowed to speak almost entirely for themselves, with which object in view as little as possible from an outside source has been introduced. Here and there have been inserted extracts from the diary; but this is done chiefly . . .

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