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Date Added: 2004-12-16

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The greatest working class author?
By John Tate on February 6, 2009

Hello to all people considering reading "Born in Exile" by George Gissing, I recommend it wholeheartedly. Some have said that Gissing is a melancholy author, and yes there are works that seem very oppressive and bleak - the Nether World is one of these. However in Born in Exile perhaps we have one of the first credible tales of the "Outsider" in literature. It is credible because it is written by a man form the lower middle class allowed to rise into literary aspiration and skill by grammar school education. However he (Godwin Peak - for whom read Gissing himself) is exiled from his class by birth yet not (he feels) accepted by the class he aspires to, the upper middle class and their world. This book shows how he tries to break into their world and sadly how he tries to disguise what he truly is for the sake of this acceptance. Gissing lived this book, I feel. Anyone who has had to lift him or herself up by their bootlaces and conquer their humble or difficult circumstances in life may well appreciate what this book describes, so early in the day of social transition. Also the intellectual strifes of the day - religion v. science, the idea of the "Two Nations" - form an exciting backcloth to this novel.