Literary Machines: George Gissing’s Lost Illusions

  • Edmund Birch
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


This chapter considers the relationship between Gissing’s 1891 novel of literary life, New Grub Street, and Balzac’s portrait of journalism and its discontents, Illusions perdues (Lost Illusions, 1837–43). Charting the ways in which certain of Gissing’s contemporaries—in both Britain and France—highlighted the Victorian novelist’s debt to a French literary tradition, the chapter traces a set of overlapping motifs between both novels, and explores depictions of literary labour and the literary marketplace in the British and French contexts.


George Gissing Honoré de Balzac Journalism July Monarchy Labour Lost Illusions New Grub Street Press Victorian literature 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edmund Birch
    • 1
  1. 1.Churchill CollegeUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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