The Place of Bloomsbury in the Novels of George Gissing

Abstract

The Victorian novelist, George Gissing, is not often associated with Bloomsbury. Yet among his twenty-three novels published between 1880 and 1905, at least nine contain scenes set in the area between Oxford Street and Euston Road, Tottenham Court Road and Gray’s Inn Road. We do not need a novelist to tell us about the topography of Victorian London or even to describe the conditions in which Londoners lived: there are more than enough social surveys, tourist guides and journalistic ‘explorations’ of ‘how the poor live’. But novels are invaluable in showing how the spaces of the city were perceived and used and how the city was ‘performed’ in everyday practice. So in this paper I am interested in how Gissing made use of the area’s geography and how his characters moved through Bloomsbury and the wider metropolis at a variety of scales.

Keywords

Bloomsbury, Victorian London

How to Cite

Dennis, R., (2009) “The Place of Bloomsbury in the Novels of George Gissing”, Opticon1826 7.

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Richard Dennis (UCL)

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