George Gissing's New Grub Street - I will be reading this book in a few weeks and would love  help in understanding this novel. 

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George Gissing's New Grub Street is a marvelous novel which deserves to be much better known. George Orwell wrote a adulatory essay about Gissing in which he said that he regretted that few of Gissing's books were still available. New Grub Street and another novel titled The Odd Women are still available in paperback editions. New Grub Street is about the lives of freelance writers in late Victorian England. All the characters are connected with the literary world in one way or another. Gissing depicts the wretched lives that most of them lead. The main problem is that there are too many aspiring writers competing for publication, just as there were in the old Grub Street days of Oliver Goldsmith and Dr. Johnson. The leading character Edwin Reardon can only get about 100 pounds for a novel, and since he is married and has a baby, he needs at least twice that much to live a halfway decent life. Furthermore, he is idealistic and has a hard time creating because of his high standards. He believes that he should  only be produciing  one novel every two years. His wife Amy is getting disillusioned with him. Their friend Jaspar Milvain is prospering because he is worldly wise, has no high literary aspirations or illusions, and can manipulate people.

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