George Robert Gissing was born on November 22, 1857, and died on December 28, 1903. He was an English novelist who published 23 novels between 1880 and 1903. Recent years have seen a strong revival of interest in Gissing, many of whose novels are now available in reprints. A bridge between late Victorianism and early modernism, Gissing's novels combine two essential themes of the period; the isolation and struggle of the artist and the economic bondage of the proletariat. New Grub Street (1891) and his own indirect autobiography, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft (1903), reveal the close connection in Gissing between fiction and autobiography. Workers in the Dawn (1880) and Demos: A Story of English Socialism (1892) dramatizes Gissing's conviction that economic and class divisions are central to human character and individual destiny. Gissing died from emphysema at age 46 after catching a chill on an ill-advised winter walk. Verinilda was published incomplete in 1904. He is is buried in the English cemetery at Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
Patricia Ingham is Fellow and Senior Tutor in English at St. Anne's College, Oxford, and Times Lecturer in English Language.