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Department of English Studies

Academic Staff

Publication details for Professor Simon James

James, Simon J. (2003). Unsettled Accounts: Money and Narrative in the Novels of George Gissing.. London: Anthem Press.
  • Publication type: Books: authored
  • ISSN/ISBN: 1843311089
  • Keywords: Victorian literature, Literary market, Advertising, Imperialism, New Woman, Working class condition.
  • View online: Online version
  • Durham research online: DRO record

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The following text is taken from the publisher's website:
"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 the commodification of everyday life. 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 engagingly 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."