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Unsettled Accounts

Unsettled Accounts

Money and Narrative in the Novels of George Gissing

By Simon J. James

Gissing's work reveals an unhappy accommodation with money's underwriting of human existence and culture, and how daily life in all its forms – moral, intellectual, familial and erotic – is transcended or made irrelevant by its commodification.

Hardback, 200 Pages

ISBN:9781843311072

December 2003

£70.00, $115.00

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  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
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About This Book

Simon J. James examines how Gissing's work reveals an unhappy accommodation with money's underwriting of human existence and culture, and how daily life in all its forms – moral, intellectual, familial and erotic – is transcended or made irrelevant by its commodification. Novels such as 'New Grub Street' expose high culture's dependence on the ruthless Darwinism of late Victorian capitalism: literary and personal success can only be achieved by understanding and adapting to the immanent and irresistible nature of a market hostile to the development of human self-betterment. Situated against nineteenth-century analyses of monetary relations by thinkers such as Ruskin, Mill, Marx and Carlyle, and novels by Dickens, Eliot and Hardy, 'Unsettled Accounts' demonstrates how Gissing's work is engagedly modern, dealing as it does with changes in the nature of the literary market, advertising, imperialism, the New Woman and the condition of the working classes. This groundbreaking new study, published 100 years after Gissing's death, will be of considerable interest to students, researchers and scholars. A valuable introduction to Gissing's work, it claims a prominent place for him in fin-de-siècle Victorian literature.

Reviews

'"Unsettled Accounts" is a splendidly documented study of Gissing's fiction...it constantly impresses by its new insights and the freshness of its approach to a major Victorian theme. "Unsettled Accounts" is a book of stimulating suggestiveness which greatly enhances the status of Gissing's art. It will become one of the most frequently quoted critical studies devoted to his impressive achievements.' —Pierre Coustillas, Emeritus Professor, Department of English, University of Lille


'"Unsettled Accounts" offers new and fresh insights into Gissing's contradictory social vision...and provides a rare critical understanding of the complexity of Gissing's prose. Simon J. James' book constitutes an invaluable contribution to the growing body of criticism on this most singular of Victorians.' —Scott McCracken, Principle Lecturer, Department of English Studies, Sheffield Hallam University

Author Information

Simon J. James is Lecturer in Victorian Literature in the Department of English Studies at the University of Durham. His research interests include Victorian fiction, masculinity in literature and contemporary writing.

Series

Anthem Nineteenth-Century Series

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction: Telling Money; 2. Dickens in Memory: Gissing's Critical Writing; 3. Poverty and Imagination: The Early Novels; 4. The Price of Culture: Gissing's Major Phase; 5. Gissing's City of Women: The Later Novels; Notes; Bibliography; Index

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