George Gissing, the Working Woman, and Urban Culture

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Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006 - 193 pages
George Gissing's work reflects his observations of fin-de-siecle London life. Influenced by the French naturalist school, his realist representations of urban culture testify to the significance of the city for the development of new class and gender identities, particularly for women. Liggins's study, which considers standard texts such as The Odd Women, New Grub Street, and The Nether World as well as lesser known short works, examines Gissing's fiction in relation to the formation of these new identities, focusing specifically on debates about the working woman. From the 1880s onward, a new genre of urban fiction increasingly focused on work as a key aspect of the modern woman's identity, elements of which were developed in the New Woman fiction of the 1890s. Showing his fascination with the working woman and her narrative potential, Gissing portrays women from a wide variety of occupations, ranging from factory girls, actresses,
 

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Contents

Prostitution and the Freedoms of Streetwalking
1
Labour and Leisure
29
Educated Working Women
67
WhiteCollar Work and the Future Possibilities of the Odd Woman
101
Finding a Public Space
141
Bibliography
179
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About the author (2006)

Emma Liggins is Lecturer in English at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

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