edited with an introduction and notes by Debbie Harrison
“… a fascinating addition to the shelf of late Victorian radical fiction.” Christine Ferguson, TLS
When he is eight years old Arthur Golding watches his gifted but dissolute father die in poverty and squalor. Aided by a series of brilliantly-drawn characters, Arthur escapes slum life, gains an education, falls in love, and looks set to launch his career in London as an artist. But when he meets a beautiful young prostitute he embarks on a liaison that plunges him into a dark world of passion, threatening to destroy everything he has worked for and holds dear.
In this powerful and largely autobiographical first novel George Gissing establishes the hallmarks of his life-long literary obsession with class, money and sex. Against the turbulent background of London in the late nineteenth century, Gissing explores the daunting challenges that face men of education, intelligence and talent, who strive to escape from the lower working class into which they are born.
The Gissing Journal thought the edition “attractively presented” and praised Debbie Harrison’s “wide-ranging introduction” and good balance of explanatory notes.
The text is that of the first edition published by Remington & Co in 1880, and also includes:
- preface by leading Gissing expert Pierre Coustillas
- a critical introduction
- unique map of Arthur Golding’s London by Richard Dennis
- further reading
- George Gissing chronology
- explanatory notes
Debbie Harrison is an Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London, where she is currently working on her monograph, A Victorian Hangover: Narratives of Addiction 1830-1900. Her research focuses on the interface between literature, medicine and social science in the nineteenth century.