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The Emancipated

George Gissing

Book Overview: 

In Italy, everything is possible. Or, at least, much more than in the oppressive social order of the Victorian era. A group of British expatriats go to tour the country and do things they might live to either bless or regret. This book details their adventures and search of identity. The central question remains clear: can one be completely free? And, if so, is the price too high?

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .attribute to him that which he gave no sign of harbouring? Why must she be mysteriously conscious of his inner being, rather than take him ingenuously for what he seemed? She had instruction and wit, but she was only a girl; her experience was as good as nil. Mallard repeated that to himself as he looked at Mrs. Baske. To a great extent Cecily did, in fact, inhabit an ideal world. She was ready to accept the noble as the natural. Untroubled herself, she could contemplate without scepticism the image of an artist finding his bliss in solitary toil. This was the ground of the respect she had for him; disturb this idea, and he became to her quite another man—one less interesting, and, it might be, less lovable in either sense of the word.

Spence maintained a conversation with Miriam, chiefly referring to the characteristics of the scene about them; he ignored her peculiarities, and talked as though everything must necessarily give her pleasure. Her face p. . . Read More

Community Reviews

As Gissing worked on "The Emancipated" he received indications
that, at long last, he was beginning to be recognized as a
writer to be reckoned with. There were respectful reviews on
"A Life's Morning" and "The Nether World" from America, "Demos"
was being translated in both French and German and he wa

Gissing's great phase (New Grub Street through The Whirlpool) begins just after this book. A few powerful scenes aside, this is a fairly enjoyable portrait of bohemian middle-class life in the 1870s, featuring Italy as well as England. Gissing's understanding of feminism is progressive for the time,

Not one of Gissing's best.