OXFORD WORLD'S CLASSICS
GEORGE GISSING was born in Wakefield in 1857. His promising academic career was cut short when, in 1876, he was dismissed from Owens College, Manchester, after stealing money in order to help the prostitute, Nell Harrison, start a new life. After a month's hard labour and a year in the United States, he returned to England, married Nell, and began a life of constant literary activity. The early years were spent in poverty and domestic discord; his wife died in 1888. A series of novels, beginning with Workers in the Dawn ( 1880) and culminating in The Nether World ( 1889) attracted some notice, but financial security continued to elude him. It was not until 1891, with the publication of New Grub Street, that Gissing was acknowledged as a major writer. In the same year he married for a second time, no less disastrously than before. Many novels followed, notably Born in Exile ( 1892), The Odd Women ( 1893), In the Year of Jubilee ( 1894) and The Crown of Life ( 1899): the dominant note was one of dour pessimism. Gissing moved to France in 1899 to live with Gabrielle Fleury. Widespread acclaim greeted The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft in 1903, but at the end of that year Gissing died.
PATRICIA INGHAM is a Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. Her publications include Thomas Hardy: A Feminist Reading ( 1989), Dickens, Women and Language ( 1992), and The Language of Gender and Class: Transformation in the Victorian Novel ( 1996). She has also edited Elizabeth Gaskell North and South, and Thomas Hardy Jude the Obscure, The Woodlanders, and The Well-Beloved.