New Grub Street & Down and Out in Paris and London

Book Pairing

New Grub Street    Down and Out in Paris and London

Notice that both these books were written by a “George”.  The thread isn’t as short as that, though.  One of the stories takes place in 1880’s London, the other in London and Paris during the late 1920’s.  Although the first novel doesn’t necessarily deal with homeless people struggling to get by as the second one does, it still raises the issue of lower class writers trying to make a living with their authorship.  Between the two books, there is still that dread of not knowing where your next meal may come if you can’t either A) write a good novel to publish or B) find a place to wash dishes to earn some wages.  Another difference between the two stories is that Gissing’s work is fiction, while Orwell’s is based on his experiences and can be considered a biographical fiction.  In fact, he claims how everything that happened in Down and Out did take place at one time or another but he was at liberty to decide where things fit in the novel.  Other than that, the era for both books  are roughly around the same period and the settings and social conditions give you a similar feeling when you consider their tones.


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