George Gissing: Born in Exile

(1948 words)

Born in Exile, Gissing's eleventh novel, was published in 1892. Like its predecessor, New Grub Street (1891), it combines acute psychology with sharp social analysis. It is excellent on shame, jealousy, temptation, the hopes and resentments of the socially thwarted, the nerve-frets of anxious intellectuals. It also deals with large late-Victorian issues: the conflict between science and religion; the insidious persistence of the class system; the question of the relations between the sexes; the loosening grip of orthodox morality. Yet it is a novel in which action is minimal.

It opens in 1874 with prize-day at Whitelaw College. Here, key characters are introduced: Godwin Peak, a brainy but angular young man; his r…

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Grylls, David. "Born in Exile". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 December 2002
[, accessed 30 November 2015.]