In the general acceptation and in the spirit ofmost reviewing, a cheerful alacrity of story, together with certain grammatical observances, are apparently the end ofthe novelist's art. It is, no doubt, the most obvious function of the novel ofcommerce, that it should fill, ifpossible without resort to split infinitives, the gaps where the texture of unadventurous lives thins out to the blankly uneventful. But if the novel is to be treated as literature, it must rise unmistakably above this level of bogus gossip entertainingly told. Tried by the lower standard, it is doubtful if the novels of Mr Gissing would procure him a favourable verdict; it is said they are 'depressing'-a worse fault surely even than 'unreadableness.' But in the study, at any rate, they are not so lightly dismissed. Whatever their value as pastime, it is undeniable that so soon as Mr Gissing's novels are read with a view to their structural design and implications they become very significant literature indeed.