GEORGE ROBERT GISSING was born on November 22, 1857 in Yorkshire. His father, a chemist, died when Gissing was twelve, leaving his family in relative poverty. However, Gissing won a scholarship to Owens College, Manchester and was destined for university,...read more
GEORGE ROBERT GISSING was born on November 22, 1857 in Yorkshire. His father, a chemist, died when Gissing was twelve, leaving his family in relative poverty. However, Gissing won a scholarship to Owens College, Manchester and was destined for university, until he was caught stealing and sentenced to a month's hard labour. He was stealing in order to support Nell Harrison, a prostitute with whom he had fallen in love, and whom he married on his return from imprisonment and a short sojourn in America in 1877. He worked as a private tutor while writing his first novel, Workers in the Dawn, which was published in 1880 to little acclaim. Gissing's marriage became increasingly unhappy and he separated from Nell in 1883 -- she died several years later. Six more novels followed between 1884 and 1889, which were also largely overlooked, but allowed Gissing to fund a long-held ambition to visit Italy in 1889. In 1890 he married again, and in the following year published his most famous work, New Grub Street, and three more novels which won him moderate literary acclaim: The Odd Women, Born in Exile and In the Year of Jubilee. In 1897, already suffering from the emphysema that would eventually end his life, and separated from his second wife and children, Gissing met and fell in love with his French translator, Gabrielle Fleury. Unable to obtain a divorce, he moved to live with her in France. There he wrote several more novels, travel books and a life of Dickens. George Gissing died at St Jean-de-Luz in France on December 28, 1903, aged forty-six.