New Grub Street
  • Publication Date: September 14, 2007
  • ISBN: 9781551115023 / 1551115026
  • 559 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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New Grub Street

  • Publication Date: September 14, 2007
  • ISBN: 9781551115023 / 1551115026
  • 559 pages; 5½" x 8½"

New Grub Street is the only one of George Gissing’s two dozen novels never to have gone out of print, and has long been recognized as the most important novel of the nineteenth century on the subject of the writing professions. Indeed, no novel in the English tradition even remotely approximates the thoroughness, sophistication, and clear-sightedness with which New Grub Street explores the social and economic contexts in which writing, publishing, and reading take place. The critical introduction to this edition gives an account of Gissing’s life and times and an overview of the most important stylistic and thematic features of New Grub Street; special attention is given to the writing and publishing professions in late-Victorian England, emphasizing the range of social and economic positions that writers occupied during the period.

This Broadview edition also includes a rich selection of historical material on the literary world of London through the centuries, authorship as a profession, and Gissing’s life and work.


“Few novels detail with such sparkling, bitter intelligence the emotional and financial toll that creating and publishing fiction can take on a writer’s life. Yet, for all its bleakness, Gissing’s satire remains a compelling read and a bracing book to teach, because it captures, like no other Victorian novel, the strains of innovation and enervation that alternately inspire and beleaguer its weary idealists and cunning pragmatists. New Grub Street has fresh relevance for us, as Stephen Arata’s skilful introduction makes clear, because all its major themes—the pressures of commerce, financial precariousness, dwindling interest in literature and print journalism, and concern about maintaining a serious forum for art and ideas—are, if anything, even more urgent matters today.” — Christopher Lane, Northwestern University, author of Hatred and Civility: The Antisocial Life in Victorian England (2004)

A Note on Victorian Publishing
A Note on Incomes
George Gissing: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text
New Grub Street

Appendix A: Gissing on Writing

  1. From George Gissing’s Diary
  2. From Charles Dickens:A Critical Study (1898)
  3. From The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft (1903)

Appendix B: Grub Street Old and New

  1. From Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language (1755)
  2. From Nathaniel Bailey, A Universal Etymological Dictionary (1782)
  3. From Samuel Johnson, An Account of the Life of Mr. Richard Savage (1748)
  4. From Isaac D’Israeli, The Calamities of Authors (1812)
  5. Thomas Macaulay on Samuel Johnson (1831)
  6. From Henri Murger, Scènes de la vie de Bohème (1851)
  7. A Description of the Reading Room at the British Museum (1867)
  8. From Walter Thornbury, Old and New London (1872)
  9. From James Payn, Some Literary Recollections (1884)
  10. From H.D. Traill, “Author and Critic,” Literature (1897)
  11. Differing views of Grub Street and New Grub Street, from The Author (1891)

Appendix C: The Profession of Authorship

  1. From Thomas Carlyle, “The Hero as Man of Letters” (1841)
  2. From Anthony Trollope, An Autobiography (1883)
  3. Walter Besant and the Society of Authors
  4. Edmund Gosse Writes a Book Review
  5. From Leopold Wagner, How to Publish a Book or Article and How to Produce a Play. Advice to Young Authors (1898)
  6. Arnold Bennett on the Writing Profession

Appendix D: Early Reviews

  1. Contradictory notices from the Saturday Review (1891)
  2. Anonymous, Court Journal (25 April 1891)
  3. L.F. Austin, Illustrated London News (2 May 1891)
  4. Anonymous, Spectator (30 May 1891)

Selected Bibliography and Recommended Reading

Stephen Arata is Associate Professor of English at the University of Virginia. He is the editor of the Broadview edition of William Morris’s News from Nowhere (2002).