First published 1986. In this book the author refutes the notion that Gissing’s weaknesses as a novelist are associated with defects in his personality and argues that the power of his writing stemmed from his divided character. Gissing’s permanently divided emotions on poverty, reformism, women and art were, at his best, the reason he could write so convincingly about them. This analysis of Gissing’s imagination and the fictional development in his major works shows that the effectiveness of his novels depends largely on these dichotomies and opposites. This work covers the whole range of Gissing’s writing and relates it to its social and intellectual milieu.

Acknowledgements; Preface; 1 Pessimism and Will Power 2 Workers and Reform 3 Art and Commercialism 4 Poverty, Intellect and Exile 5 Women, Feminism and Marriage; Conclusion; Bibliography of Gissing’s Works; List of Abbreviations; Notes; Index