Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
English: English Studies: M.A.
College of Liberal Arts
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
George Gissing, New Grub Street, Poverty, Writing labor, Karl Marx
This paper explores George Gissing’s New Grub Street (1891) and the four main characters: Alfred Yule, Edwin Reardon, Harold Biffen, and Jasper Milvain to bring light on the reality of writers’ labor in the publishing industry in 19th century Britain. The characters’ impoverished lives are analyzed to see what money symbolizes, and how it affects their relationships, career prospects and goals, success in class, and their engagement in society. The theoretical framework of Karl Marx’s Capital is used to analyze the meaning of labor and money in the literary world of each of the four characters. Gissing carefully places the characters in poverty and compares their career paths to illustrate their methods of success and survival. Abundance of capital brings them luxury of time and class while the lack of it becomes “roots of all social ill” (Gissing 32).
Kim, Hye Hyon, "“Root of All Social Ill”: A Marxist Analysis of Poverty and the Labor of Writing in George Gissing’s New Grub Street" (2018). Culminating Projects in English. 129.