Saturday, 12 May 2018

Iconic Horror Cinema + my introduction to the genre

I came across an old 2000AD "Chilling Winter Tales" special of mine from 1994. It contains a short article by an anonymous features writer under the by-line Roxilla. It was a run down of their favourite horror films. Now these weren't deep cuts by todays standards at all, Starts with King Kong and runs through, Bride of Frankenstein, Psycho, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Nightmare on Elm Street etc through to the 80s, providing some interesting detail about the production and special effects along the way. Entry level stuff for sure but to a 13-year-old-me it was quite important and my first introduction to The Haunting, Suspiria, Near Dark and others which remain firm favorites of mine. 

Actual cover of that 2000AD Winter Special
Now the reason why I'm posting this is that one thing that always stuck with me from the article was the last paragraph: "Its sad that since Near Dark there's not been a horror film released that has come up to the standard of the 13 classics covered here. On the law of averages, you'd expect at least two cracking horror films in a decade. Maybe the classics for the 90s have yet to be made. Here's hoping that's true." 

Now, that's a bit of an exaggeration, by then Braindead had been made and some of the choices seem a bit arbitrary in retrospect (The Shining is a glaring omission for example) no doubt due to the limitations of the format, intended audience (I'm assuming there's no body horror or weird sexy stuff because its for kids / teens so no Hellraiser, Cronenberg etc.), a set word count, etc, but it does raise a question, what were the iconic, ground-breaking, trend setting horrors of the last couple of decades? 

Personally, I'd say for the 1990s Ring and The Blair Witch Project. Ring opened the doors of Asian horror onto an unsuspecting world, Blair Witch wasn't the first Found Footage film but it was the one that broke the genre into the mainstream, doesn't quite hold up today on its own as a piece of cinema so maybe not but as a method and a sign of were horror films were at at the turn of the century its pretty important. 

For the 2000s - 28 Days Later for bringing the zompocalypse survival horror genre up to date with aplomb and doing something new with the zombies and Martyrs for being both viscerally disturbing and thoughtful. This decade, I could be wrong but I can't think of anything that has been able to land with the sort of impact of any of the above. There's been some good ones and some interesting ones but I'm struggling to think of anything that's going to spawn its own subgenre or anything like that. The only thing I can think of is Under The Skin for being the first to bring an abstract art-house sensibility to horror. Maybe Get Out? Horror has always had an element of social commentary (sometimes unconscious) but that is very much what the film is from the surface down, while still being an effective horror film in its own right. 

Or I dunno, maybe the 2-per-decade premise was just a conceit to give a loose structure to the article and doesn't hold up at all under examination. Still, it was a decent introduction to Horror films, and while it wouldn't be defining of my taste in horror gave me a decent grounding in the history of horror cinema on which I would build later. 

For reference the 13 films covered by the article are as follows: 
King Kong 
The Bride of Frankenstein 
I Walked with a Zombie (the only one on the list I've still never seen) 
Invasion of the Body Snatchers 
Psycho 
The Haunting Night of the Living Dead 
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 
Suspiria 
Hallow'een 
The Evil Dead 
Nightmare on Elm Street 
Near Dark

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Appendix 2: Literature as a consumer product in 1890s Britain and Gissing’s New Grub Street.

This is one of two term papers written as practice and a way of getting my thoughts together in preperation for my masters thesis which I have published on this blog here. It has been e put up here for the sake of completion. The other one has been posted here.



In Britain in the 1880s and 90s there was a perceptible shift in the production and distribution of literature.  The reading public, who had been increasing incrementally over the previous two centuries, suddenly expanded as the business of writing and selling books, magazines and other forms of literary culture was revolutionised.  It is in this context that George Gissing wrote New Grub Street, the novel that would make his name and come to be regarded as his finest.  The Novel takes as its subject the world of writers around 8-10 years before it was written.  The Gissing specialist John Goode, referring to Gissing’s diaries, puts the novel as having fermented over the course of 1890 before finally being written in the late autumn and early winter of that year[1].  The novel begins in autumn 1882[2] with the main plot covering the next 2-3 years up to July 1885, ending with a short denouement set 12 months after[3].  In essence Gissing is chronicling the formation of the productive relations that he was working under in 1890 by excavating their origins in the novel format[4].  The main theme of the book is Writing in the context of the changing mode of production in literature, especially the effect of this on the work that writers do and the daily realities that writers are faced with.  When one takes into consideration that Gissing himself lived through this period on the bottom wrung of the publishing industry as an impoverished writer, New Grub Street appears not so much as fiction but also as auto-biography, cum reportage as well as advancing a particular aesthetic thesis.  As such, it provides a unique insight for historians of the period into the experience of those relations of production and consumption by writers and journalists and it provides insights into the operation of culture within Late-Victorian capitalism.

In Britain in the 1880s and 90s, this printed culture of novels, periodicals and magazines was the mass media, occupying the same place that television does today.  Significantly, this was the time in British history when the novel as a means of cultural transmission was at its zenith, however its influence was being challenged by a factors emerging from a new range of conditions of production and consumption.

Although Gissing did not express the process in economic terms in his fiction, what he is really describing is the commodification of writing and the intrusion into the writers’ literary production of the market, reducing the writer to a mere artisan.  This change is encapsulated in the first pages of New Grub Street by the bold statement that “Literature nowadays is a trade[6]”.

The plot of the novel reflects this in its structure, which,

 “is based on a common convention in Victorian fiction, which is to have two independent stories which in narrative terms are largely independent of each other but which echo and contrast”[7].

The precise nature of what is echoed and contrasted in the novel is the lives of two writers, their work, their relations with women, their attitude to each other and, by extension, their place in the edifice of literary production. This also leads concomitantly to their consideration of literary consumption.  Specifically, this is the contrast summed up at the start of the novel by Jasper Milvain, then protagonist of one of the story threads, in reference to his friend Edward Reardon, the protagonist of the other;

“The thing you must understand about a man like Reardon and a man like me is that he is the old type of unpractical artist, I am the literary man of 1882.”[8]

Milvain then goes on to conceptualise the difference in their relations to the market;

“He won’t make concessions, or rather, he can’t make them; he can’t supply the market…your successful man of letters is your skillful tradesman.  He thinks first and foremost of the markets; when one kind of good begins to go off slackly, he is ready with something new and appetising”[9]. 

In the course of the novel this is just what Milvain goes on to do by becoming a Journalist, a vulgar populist writer of ephemera, in contrast to the scrupulousness of Reardon’s devotion to his muse.

The novel also goes into the wider literary scene through the secondary characters, each of which are involved in the business of writing in some way.  These include Milvain’s sisters, who he introduces to the trade, Biffen, a writer, Whelpdale, a failed writer who becomes a literary agent, Alfred Yule, a man of letters and failed periodical editor and his daughter Marian, assistant to her father and up-coming woman of letters in her own right.  Each of these characters adds another facet to the picture of the literary world that Gissing is trying to paint in the novel.  By concentrating on this circle of friends and acquaintances and their relationships the author brings into sharp focus the personal cost of the holistic intrusion of market forces onto the creative intellect, i.e. the way it effects not only the work of writers but their relationships, personalities, health and behavior.

Implicit in Gissing’s argument is a formulation we may term as a “Moral-economy of literary production” that was common in the Fin de Siecle[10].  This is the notion that artistic production should exist free of any concerns except whatever artistic concerns inspire the creator.  Mainly this refers to the idea that great art requires freedom from commercial concerns and stems from the perennial dynamic tension between the personal and social nature of artistic production, favoring of course the personal to the detriment of the social location within the capitalist mode of production.  Although this, “Moral Economy”, was not successful or effective in the way the social phenomenon described by E.P. Thompson was[11], we can nonetheless see a constant negotiation of the commercial nature of their work by artists and writers.

Recent scholarship has convincingly suggested that the reason why Gissing, and others of his generation, favoured the personal factor in this creative dialectic as a reaction against an intrusive and disconcerting nature of the social factor.  For writers in late Victorian England this expressed itself in the form of the rapidly changing productive relations in literature in the late 19th century[12].  This was largely distributor led and favored certain forms and subjects over others[13] married to an increasing sophistication of publishing practice with its perennial need to maximise profits.  Hence we can see that the balance of power in this relation between production and consumption favored the tastes of the distributors, not the producer.

Exemplifying the writers’ Moral economy in the Novel are the characters of the two novelists, Edwin Reardon and Harold Biffen.  Both are true artists who can’t adopt themselves to the market.  The difference between them is that Reardon has a family to support which forces him to try fruitlessly, to adapt to the market. Which in turn leads to the ruination of his physical and mental health and family, whereas Biffen is unencumbered, with only himself to look after, and lives at the edge of poverty but without compromising his art. 

Biffen is the purest example of the literary producer in the novel.  He writes his fiction without reference to the market either in terms of subject, form, content or potential audience.  This is because the production of literature is everything to him, the end in itself.  Whether or not his efforts are ever re-numerated are incidental. In a conversation with Reardon he claims not to expect his novel to even be published.[14] None the less he pushes himself to the point of starvation and eventually charges into a burning building to rescue the only copy of his manuscript from the flames[15].

Reardon’s position is more complex. The struggle between Reardon and the hated market constitutes the drama in this thread of the novel.  Before achieving a degree of literary fame he had lived much as Biffen, but sustained by a job as a clerk.  His day job and lack of familial commitments mean he is unencumbered by commercial pressures and so is able to work as he likes.  By the beginning of the action in the novel his writing has brought him with success the responsibilities of a husband and father.  If Biffen represents the ideal of the writer, Reardon represents something like the reality as in order to maintain his family he is compelled not just to write but to write something sellable.  Because the money it brings in is a necessity he has to continually produce in order to survive, even if it means compromising on the quality of the work itself.  In Gissing’s depictions of Reardon’s struggles it is clear that being able to create depends on a number of psychological factors an important one being that forcing yourself to write is destructive of what makes one capable of it in the first place.

Jasper Milvain is the antithesis of Reardon and Biffen.  He engages with the market as a professional.  He writes only what he can sell.  Although, as is implied in the novel, he is no less talented or capable of creating great works of art than Biffen or Reardon, he instead engages with the market by cynically pandering to vulgar tastes and fashions.  Instead of pushing the medium and creating something unique or original, which is at least the intention of Biffen, he only seeks to reproduce that which is commercially reliable.  In advising his sisters as to how to go about writing as a profession, he makes this abundantly clear, telling them:

“There is a tremendous sale for religious stories, why not pitch one together?…I tell you writing is a business.  Get together half-a-dozen fair specimens of the Sunday school prize; study them; discover the essential points of such composition; hit upon new attractions; then go to work methodically, so many pages a day.”[16]

One interesting thing to note in this context is the ways in which the writer is conceptualised as a tradesman or a businessman.  Some commentators seem to suggest that because of the emergence of writers unions and the mechanisation of the industry that writers were becoming proletarianised[17].  Actually the position of the writer appears closer to a petty bourgeoisie, i.e. those who labour but own their own means of production.  In a sense, if we take Bourdieu’s description of creativity as a natural resource[18], they are comparable to small farmers.  Although Gissing doesn’t employ such metaphors himself, the use of agricultural metaphors is not uncommon in describing the creative process.

The work cycle of Reardon as laid out in the novel does have a similarity to that of a small farmer.  That is to say, labouring over a novel for an expected sale at the end of the period of cultivation.  For example, borrowing towards the end of that period when the money from the last harvesting is becoming scarce on the expectation of selling the product is something that characterised the micro economics of small holding peasants in pre-famine rural Ireland[19], and according to Gissing, the Reardon household towards the end of one of Readon’s novels.  Similarly, a bad (i.e. unpublishable) novel was disastrous in the same way that as a bad harvest was disastrous for the small producer.

The mechanical way in which Milvain works and manages his labour time is among the aforementioned factors which has led Bowlby amongst others to wrongly assert that writing was proletarianised. Actually since its inception the term, “Petty Bourgeoisie”, has been taken to infer proletarian forms of labour, the distinction between the two mainly being the relation to the means of production and distribution[20].  Hence, the particular mode of literary production, as depicted in the novel, was both alienating and mechanistic and self regulated.  The breakdown of Jasper’s working day[21] is very precise, like a manager’s log, with the total monetary value of the time worked out to within a couple of guineas.

So too for Marian Yule, who at one point fantasises about a literary machine; “some automaton to supply the place of creatures such as herself, to turn out books and articles”[22].  The mechanised process of literary production is described in the same terms as “only to throw in a given number of old books, and have them reduced, blended, modernised into a single new book”[23].  Jasper describes his method of working up new articles thus;

“From five to half past I read four news papers and two magazines, and from half past to quarter to six I jotted down several ideas that had come to me while reading”.[24]

Between these two sections from the text we can observe something at the heart of Gissing’s conceptualisation of this mode of consumption, i.e. that where this writing comes from isn’t the heart of the writer or their observation of real life, which would give it some sort of higher relevance, but from other writing alone.  This isn’t creation, the act of a creative mind, but more akin to recycling, the shuffling around of pre-existing writing that has relevance only to and of itself.  While the product may be entertaining or well written, it doesn’t further human culture.  This is what Milvain means when he refers to his day’s work as having literary value, “equal to the contents of a mouldy nut”[25].

This explosion in the consumption and production of literature that constituted the crisis, as Gissing saw it, was facilitated by a number of factors.  Firstly there were technological advances in the mechanisation of printing as well as more efficient paper making processes[26].  Also, the repeal of Stamp Tax in 1855 and Paper Duty in 1860 had removed one non-material barrier to the mass production of paper[27] and encouraged a great expansion of the News Paper industry that had also been gathering pace incrementally over the preceding centuries.

The main factor however, as perceived at the time, was the education acts of the 1870-90s, which gradually introduced universal primary education.  Literacy had been increasing incrementally over the preceding centuries[28], but the acts expanded the reading public to an extent unheard of, creating for the first time a literate reading public[29]. 

The effect that this Cultural Revolution and the sort of reading it engendered had on those already literate classes was the unleashing of a storm of reactionary ire and condescension.  In the organs of the literary establishment the “disease” of “unproductive reading” by this upstart literate mass reading public was lamented and tied into contemporary discourses on degeneration[30], and critics of the time were horrified at the national out pouring of grief at the death of the revered and popular poet Tennyson[31].  This indeed could be said to be the period that saw, to paraphrase Thompson, The Making of the English Literary Intelligentsia[32].

At the time when Gissing was writing New Grub Street the production and distribution of novels in Britain was mired in an archaic system of private lending libraries, the most important of which being Mudies, which has been described as having a “grip on the fiction industry”[33].  Unlike America and France, where the advances in printing had meant the sale of literature directly to consumers, in Britain the novels were mainly produced as three volumes, so called, “Three Deckers”.  These were mainly sold to circulating libraries which the would-be consumer of literature had to subscribe to to use[34].  For the author this meant that the crucial notion of what was saleable, or permissible to print, rested in the hands of the small group of owners of these lending libraries and not the reading public at large.  Mudies in particular was notorious for its conservatism[35].  This is also one of the main reasons why British literature appears stuffy and repressed with regards to its content and themes, especially in comparison with French literature of the same period.

It also created the precarious position of the author’s finances, i.e. the way the novelist could only really expect re-numeration for their labour at the point of sale to his publisher because then, as now, sales generate royalties, not the rental of an already sold item.  It would also seem that when the reading public purchased books in the 1880s-early 1890s, they were generally bought second hand, as is most of Reardon’s personal library[36].

This particular system of distribution would eventually be swept away, but not until after New Grub Street was published, although we can see the beginnings of this process in Gissings depiction of the literary world of the 1880s.  The way they are depicted in the novel is interestingly catastrophic.  Just as In TheYear Of The Jubilee prefigures the Baudrillardian critique of consumerism[37], the depiction of the mass culture prefigures the 20th century debates around the degradation of society and the inner life of the individual[38].  He also harks back to Matthew Arnold’s notion of culture as an expression of all that’s pure and good in society, extending the arguments of Culture and Anarchy into the decades after Arnold’s death.  Arnolds contribution to what I have referred earlier as a “Moral Economy” of literary production was a mid 19th century positivism with regards to perfection and the perfectibility of society through Culture.  Arnold is a pervasive but unacknowledged presence in the novel.  Reardon in particular can be described as having distinctly Arnoldian tendencies is his view of art and his taste in Hellenic culture and civilization, something undoubtedly shared by his creator[39].

Inherent in this idea is a particularly elitist notion of what constituted good literature. Culture and Anarchy is actually where the English usage of the word ‘Philistine’ is used in the pejorative sense of someone who is not just un-enlightened, but actually oppositional towards the Arts.  In New Grub Street Philistineism is most directly associated with the manufacturing end of book publishing, specifically in the character of John Yule who we meet in the second chapter[40]. The arguments he articulates in his exchange with Milvain and his brother Alfred are the direct opposite of Arnold’s in Culture and Anarchy.  Yule, has little appreciation of the literature he publishes (reading little besides papers[41]), little sympathy with the authors (including his nieces, husband, Edwin Reardon, who he says he’d pay not to write[42]) and would rather people spent their leisure time on the outdoors.  He even goes so far as to wish to see “the business of literature abolished”[43].  That his trade is the manufacture of paper is indicative of Gissing’s more general association of mass production with philistinism.  This is evident in the exchange between Milvain and John Yule when Milvain remarks about paper that;

“‘if that article (i.e. paper) were not so cheap and so abundant, people wouldn’t have so much temptation to scribble’”[44]

It is because of this dilution of the Arnoldian ideal of the improving mission of writing by the mass education and mass culture - which was driven, as Gissing clearly saw it by the philistine owners of the means of book production - that his reaction to the very forces which would remove the system of book production that he struggled under would be so completely pessimistic[45].

To begin with a new generation of publishers was arising to challenge the established publishing houses and orthodox publishing methods.  This was to provide a new space for innovations in the production and distribution of literature, as Jonathan Rose points out, in late Victorian Britian, “often the most innovative authors are taken on by the most aggressive entrepreneurs, those who are ready to adapt to and exploit a changing literary marketplace[46].  In New Grub Street this particular form of Victorian capitalism is embodied in Jedwood, a publisher who has only recently come into the business after a marriage to a rich woman[47] has begun to take risks and overturn some of the publishing practices that emerged under the established houses.  Jedwood is very much the new type;

“He talked much of ‘The New Era’, foresaw revolutions in publishing and book selling, tried every week a score of untried ventures that should appeal to the democratic generation just maturing”[48].

Those revolutions weren’t complete at the time of publication, New Grub Street itself was a Three Decker that was first sold to the lending libraries, they would be completed by the middle years of the decade[49], and would have been noticeably well under way to a professional novelist like Gissing.  And yet in the novel this development, and all the others that would change the literature industry, objectively for the better, is treated with horror or disdain.  The description of Jedwood is hardly flattering, the idea that he’s married into money, rather than having had the decency to be born to it, carries the implication of gold-digging.

Another factor that had revolutionised the consumption of literature was the mass transit system.  Again Gissing seems to regard this as a negative development.  One of the main themes of New Grub Street is the rise of the relative importance of the magazine in relation to the novel and the related process of degeneration of the novel itself[50] because of these conditions.  The rail networks provided short intervals of time when the urban commuter could snatch a little reading time.  It was soon recognised that the commuter was an important market for publishers, as near to a captive audience as one could wish for, hence bookshops and stalls were opened in railway stations (this is how the high street chain WH Smiths began[51]).  Magazines full of short articles that would only take the length of a train journey to read were produced, with great success - Newne’s Tit-Bits in particular, which;

“From its inception…was denounced as the bastard offspring of the commodification of literature:… exploiting readers with limited literacy and short attention spans.”[52]

The arguments around this development[53] are dramatised by Gissing in a three-way exchange between Jasper Milvain, his sister Dora and Whelpdale.  Whelpdale proposes a plan for a new magazine that a Victorian audience would have understood as a none-too subtle proxy of Tit-Bits[54]. The magazine and it’s audience are described in terms which explicitly links its format to educational standards and a debased type of reading related to the use of public transport;

“I would have the paper address itself to the quarter educated…the great new generation that is being turned out by the Board Schools, the young men and women who can just read but are incapable of sustained attention.  People of this kind want something to sustain them on trains and on Buses and ‘trams...Everything must be short, two inches at the utmost; their attention can’t sustain itself beyond two inches.”[55]

Jasper approves of the project, calling it half-ironically, “one of the most notable projects of modern times”[56].  Dora on the other hand objects to the project on the grounds that, “Surely these poor silly people oughtn’t to be encouraged in their weakness”[57], and is only placated by the notion that even reading such fare as Chit-Chat on the train is better than reading nothing, “So long as they only read the paper at such times”[58].

The diversification in literature is another part of the process that would end the Three Decker novel system, and like magazines and the new publishing houses, would be subtly railed against by Gissing in New Grub Street.  One of the most notable and historically significant parts of this process, was the emergence of a degree of gendering in the market.  This was essentially the beginning of an identity consumerism where instead of trying to address the whole reading public the publishers found it more profitable to create books for sale to a specific niche.

This practice was directly contradictory to Arnold’s vision of a Culture that “seeks to do away with classes”[59] to create a singular culture for everyone to partake in, which in practice meant a monolithic cannon.  Gissing seems to have taken a particular exception to this in the form it took when targeting an emerging generation of newly literate women as a particular niche market.  This is certainly the most common form of niche marketing that we encounter in the novel.  When Milvain first suggests his sisters take up writing to supplement their income, it is this sort of gender-specific writing that he has in mind[60].  There is of course an undertone of misogyny to this as well.  As Carey has observed, Gissing found the new generation of women that had benefited from the education acts contemptible and pretentious[61].  Although this strain of Gissing’s isn’t so evident in New Grub Street, the refrain that semi-educated women, who are incapable of being more than that are imperiling the health and well being of the nation is evident in his other novels[62].  That said however, in the novel professional writing is presented as differently for women, who are not allocated the same status as the male writers.  Milvain’s sisters do the sort of hack writing described above, but for a specifically female audience.  Marian’s literary endeavors are all in the service of her father and are almost a form of parental abuse that exploits the subject and is detrimental to her femininity.

One conclusion that we can draw from the novel is that the products of print culture, novels, magazines and newspapers[63] have a dual existence as commodities and as cultural artifacts.  These two lives that books have are almost, but not entirely independent of one another.  Pierre Bourdieu has given us the useful notion of a Field of Cultural Production, a sort of idea-space for the functioning of the creative mind that is framed within the productive relations of its time but not dictated by them.  We might say that the Writer’s Moral Economy, as exemplified in the novel by Reardon and Biffen, is the mentality of the field of cultural production.  Milvain’s perspective is also within the field of cultural production but it is more of the productive relations that frame it than the field itself.  These two positions representing a continuum of thought and behavior, in the field channeling different currents to different ends.

The way in which the field of cultural production expresses itself in material reality is in the production of a symbolic configuration on a material form.  By which I mean that at its most basic level, the act of filling the pages of a book with words and pictures is commodity fetishism on a grand scale, quite literally imbuing an object with a symbolic meaning beyond its materiality.  However this isn’t quite the same thing, as it is from the symbolic content of a printed commodity that its use-value is derived.

However the commodity fetishism of printed culture expresses itself in other ways.  Advertising and the reputation of the author are also important factors, ones that Gissing spends some time over.  For example, near the beginning of the novel, Milvain spells out the importance of having money and a presence in society, to getting published[64].  Also, the importance of favorable reviews in imbuing a book with a saleable value is another recurring concern that comes up at several points in the novel.  At one of these points Milvain observes that in the, “struggle for existence among books[65]”, good reviews were necessary for a novel’s success as a saleable commodity.

The physical form of the novel, the binding, typography and illustration etc. is no less important to the novel as a consumer item.  Although the success of a cultural commodity might not be predicated on this “Packaging”, Maura Ives work on the production of the novels of George Meredith have shown how the physical presentation of novel acts to bolster its appeal[66].  For example in the typeface, the size of the print etc. recreates the identity of the author and itself acts as a form of advertising[67] and that the watermark and indenting the first page with the author’s initials acts as a physical connection between the author and consumer[68].

Finally, what New Grub Street demonstrates human experience of the changing dialectic relation between the consumption and production of literature in the 1880s and 90s.  Although Gissing has a particularly singular vision of this world, one of his skills as an author is to present an argument or debate from both sides and to make the two as real as to have an equal emotional truth.  Although there are some exceptions to this, when Gissing sets up an opposition he can present both sides so as to make them credible and articulate.  For as much as Milvain is the authors wry mouthpeice for everything he saw wrong with modern literature, Jasper Milvain still has a real emotional life and our sympathies.  Although we know from biographical information which side of the fence he was on, a purely textual reading could put Reardon and Milvain on a par, or even put Milvain as the most favoured out of the two, since he both survives the novel and gets the girl in the end.  It is for this reason that the book was, and continues to be, a useful indication of the interior life of writers living in the new Grub Street of Britains Fin-de Seicle.


 Bibliography

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Benjamin, W. (trans, H. Zorn), Illuminations (Pimlico; London, 1999)

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                - John Goode, ‘Introduction’ ppvii-xxi

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-          Maura Ives, ‘A Bibliographical Approach to Victorian Publishing’ pp269-288
-          Kelly J. Mays, ‘The Disease of Reading and Victorian Periodicals’ pp165-194

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[1] J. Goode, Introduction p.ix
[2] G. Gissing New Grub Street p6, 8
[3]  Ibid., p511
[4] R. Bowlby, Just Looking: Consumer Culture in Gissing, Dreiser and Zola p.102
[5] Cit.
[6] G. Gissing, p.8
[7] J. Goode, George Gissing: Ideology and Fiction p.131
[8] G. Gissing, ibid. p.8
[9] Ibid, pp8-9
[10] See for example Howell and Colderidge’s comments, quoted in R, Bowlby, p 92, and also the comment in the article from the Scots Observer that, “Literature exists of itself and for itself”, quoted in P. D. Macdonald p.9
[11] E.P. Thompson, The Moral Economy and the English Crowd
[12] eg. A. Poole, Gissing In Context p.119
[13] See for instance Gosse’s comments on the Novel.
[14] Gissing, p.370
[15] ibid., pp.428-433
[16] ibid. p13
[17] E.g. R. Bowlby p.90
[18] P. Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production p.76
[19] C. O’Grada, The Great Irish Famine, pp.32-3
[20] See for instance in K. Marx, Theories of Surplus Value Part 1 p395-6
[21] G. Gissing, p.181
[22] ibid., p107
[23] ibid., p107
[24] ibid., p181
[25] ibid., p181
[26] R. Williams, p.190
[27] Ibid. p.217
[28] ibid, pp.177-189
[29] J. Carey, The Intellectuals and The Masses p5
[30] See. K. Mays, ‘The Disease of Reading and Victorian Periodicals’ in Jordan, J.O. and Patten, R.L. (eds.) Literature in the Market Place: Nineteenth-century British Publishing and Reading Practices
[31] McDonald, P.D. British Literary Culture and Publishing Practice 1880-1914 pp.3-5
[32] Kelly Mays points out that in this period and in relation to these discourses the idea of “Study” as opposed to “Reading” is seriously formulated (p. 181), and amateur learning clubs give way to the professionalisation of intellectual labour through an institutional structure that is effectively the beginnings of the British University system and the epistemological authority of academic citation (pp.183-4).
[33] J. Rose, ‘Was Capitalism Good For Victorian Literature?’ p.496
[34] R. Bowlby, pp85-6
[35] J. Goode, Introduction p.xiv
[36] G. Gissing, p.208
[37] i.e. the thwarted desire of the middle class urban consumer, J. Goode, George Gissing: Ideology and Fiction.
[38] See for example T.W. Adorno’s theories on mass culture, or his fellow Frankfurt School associate Herbert Marcuse.
[39] We know that the sections of Reardon’s travels to Europe and recollections of Greece were semi-autobiographical.
[40] G. Gissing, pp.15-27
[41] ibid., p.20
[42] ibid. p.25
[43] ibid. p.23
[44] ibid. p.23
[45] Interestingly, this was actually at odds with what Arnold actually said in Culture and Anarchy, whose ethos was more in line with an egaliterian one-nation Toryism, not dissimmilar to his literary contemporary Mrs Gaskell.
[46] J. Rose, ‘Was Capitalism Good For Victorian Literature?’ p497
[47] G. Gissing, p164
[48] ibid. p.167
[49] J. Rose, ‘Was Capitalism Good For Victorian Literature?’ p490
[50] J. Carey, pp107-8
[51] R. Williams, p190
[52] J. Rose, ‘Was Capitalism Good For Victorian Literature?’
[53] See for example the aforementioned Scots Observer article quoted in P.D. Macdonald (p.) for an example contemporaneous with New Grub Street.
[54] When describing the contents, the word “Bits” is used by Whelpdale six times in the same sentence to hammer the point home. Gissing, p.460
[55] ibid. p.460
[56] ibid. p.460
[57] ibid. p.460
[58] ibid. p.461
[59] M. Arnold, Culture and Anarchy (preface)
[60] G. Gissing, p.35
[61] J. Carey, p.100
[62] Ibid. pp.97-103
[63] And we might perhaps extrapolate this out to include and mass-produced cultural artifact.
[64] G. Gissing, pp.28-30
[65] Ibid. p.456
[66] L. Ives ‘A Bibliographical Approach to Victorian Publishing’ p.275-288
[67] Ibid., p.278
[68] ibid., p.274