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Born in Exile (TREDITION CLASSICS) download epub

by George Gissing


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Certain passages in the classics, and many an elaborate mathematical formula, long retained for him an association with the cadences of revivalist hymnody.

Certain passages in the classics, and many an elaborate mathematical formula, long retained for him an association with the cadences of revivalist hymnody. Like all proud natures condemned to solitude, he tried to convince himself that he had no need of society, that he despised its attractions, and could be self-sufficing.

Birth allied him with the proletarian class, and his sentiment in favour of democracy was unendangered by the disillusions which must come upon every intellectual man brought into close contact with public affairs. The course of an education essentially aristocratic (Greek and Latin can have no other tendency so long as they are the privilege of the few) had not affected his natural bent, nor was he the man to be driven into reaction because of obstacles to his faith inseparable from human weakness

George Robert Gissing (/ˈɡɪsɪŋ/; 22 November 1857 – 28 December 1903) was a British novelist who published 23 novels between 1880 and 1903. Gissing also worked as a teacher and tutor throughout his life

George Robert Gissing (/ˈɡɪsɪŋ/; 22 November 1857 – 28 December 1903) was a British novelist who published 23 novels between 1880 and 1903. Gissing also worked as a teacher and tutor throughout his life. He published his first novel, Workers in the Dawn, in 1880.

This book appeared first under the title Godwin Peak, after its hero.

Temporarily out of stock. This book appeared first under the title Godwin Peak, after its hero. It was published in 1892, right after New Grub Street, Gissing's better known (but not better) novel about writing and publishing. This is a true novel of ideas. It is mainly about the deprivations suffered by a man who finds himself in the & station in life.

George Gissing Born in Exile. As women, again, he despised these relatives. It is almost impossible for a bright-witted lad born in the lower middle class to escape this stage of development

George Gissing Born in Exile. It is almost impossible for a bright-witted lad born in the lower middle class to escape this stage of development.

Shelves: 1001-books, classics, european, read-in-2019, vic-lit. Born in Exile by George Gissing is a book about classism, politics, religion, morality, and gender roles. It explores science and education. It explores ideas of feminism and radicalism.

Roots's kitchen had just struck three. A wind roared from the north-east, and light thickened beneath a sky which made threat of snow. lf with a book in his easy-chair, and thought with pleasure of two hours' reading, before the appearance of the homely teapot

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Comments: (6)

elektron
Reading hard and dressing poorly. It is difficult for a poor man to be a freethinker. High self-esteem combined with low self-assertion is Godwin Peak's problem. He sees himself as `born in exile' among poor people, while by rights he should be an upper class intellectual. He is a born aristocrat in his youthful romantic imagination. Eventually he will identify the clergy as his most promising career avenue.

His father was a man of `ungainly integrity', who managed to bankrupt himself and die in relatively young age, leaving a struggling wife with 3 kids. The eldest son inherited from him intellectual curiosity and talent. He goes to school and gets a college scholarship. He passes well while always on the brink of starving. His social skills are non-existent, which condemns him to solitude and isolation.

Then he manages to rise somewhat in life, but not quite to the level of his dreams. He begins to shed his strong principles and thinks about becoming a parson, for the safety of the income. He becomes an outright cynic. What does it matter that he is actually an atheist, as long as he can fool the system and make a career in the church?
`There is no right life in the wrong one' was Theodor Adorno's most famous sentence in his Minima Moralia. That remains a debatable point.

This book appeared first under the title Godwin Peak, after its hero. It was published in 1892, right after New Grub Street, Gissing's better known (but not better) novel about writing and publishing. This is a true novel of ideas. It is mainly about the deprivations suffered by a man who finds himself in the `wrong' station in life. That theme allows plentiful observation on the English caste system in the late Victorian age.

A second main subject is the conflict between `established truth' and heretical thinking, here mainly based on early Darwinism and its rejections. One of the respectable protagonists, treated with much sympathy, is an older gentleman, who `believed because he believed, and avoided the impact of disagreeable arguments because he wished to do so.' Most people in the story are trying to find their position in the fluid intellectual space between Genesis and Darwin.
The hero provokes mixed feelings: we sympathize with his frustrations, but we can't like him, because he is such a clumsy fool in social relations and so dogmatic. He can't handle his attitude towards women: he despises ignorant women and hates intellectual women, but he aims, in his own words, to marry a lady. He is an English Tartuffe without comedic aspects. He is an outright snob.

While the story is specific about being set in England from the 1850s to the 1880s, it has elements that transcend this time and locality. One of its attractions for me is that I find many traces of myself in it, mainly in the young hero's rebellion against fashion and normality. Compared to most Victorian writing that I have reviewed here lately, this is an almost modern approach to the novel.
Unfortunately I bought this book in a ridiculous edition, an A4 typescript, with typos aplenty. Why can't Penguin or Oxford Classics come up with a decent Gissing edition?
Gogal
Whenever I read Gissing, I always marvel at his discipline, He knew his books would not be best sellers; nonetheless, he patiently wrought them to--I will say--perfection. Gissing is right up there with all of his contemporaries, but for some inexplicable reason, he is considered a minor author. He is NOT a minor author. If you haven't read Gissing, I suggest that Henry James, who arrived a generation later, is his closest in style--except that James, once a master of the language, became its slave in his later period. Gissing is always direct, always scrupulously honest. He should have been worshipped by the reading public of his day. I know this sounds like sentimental folly, but I always try to buy a first edition of Gissing, to add to his "sales." I really marvel at his artistry.
Hucama
Just before publication in 1892, George Gissing changed the title of his novel to the evocative "Born in Exile" from the name of its primary character, the difficult, complex anti-hero, Godwin Peak. Although written after Gissing had made a name for himself with "New Grub Street" and other books, "Born in Exile" was a hard sell to the publishers. The book was rejected several times and nearly passed over. The book has remained little read over the years. Yet it is an extraordinary book, perhaps Gissing's best. For all its datedness, length and awkwardness, this book will reward careful reading.

The book is a detailed study of its title character and a novel of ideas. The book is among the first and the best novels to explore the relationship between Darwinism and geology and traditional religious beliefs. The book has much to say about sexuality, about the life of the mind, the erosion of values, social classes, and social change. Gissing seemed greatly influenced by Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment" and by Turgenev's "Fathers and Children" in writing "Born in Exile".

In some respects, Peak is modeled of Gissing himself and Gissing described the novel to a friend as "a book I had to write". Born, as was Gissing himself, to a struggling lower-middle class pharmacist, Peak is intelligent, broodingly introspective, skeptical, and rootless. He is ashamed of his origins. He both envies and scorns the upper classes and believes his intellectual gifts entitle him to a higher place. Thus Peak sees himself, in a phrase repeated several times in the book as "Born in Exile."

As a young man, Peak secures a scholarship to Whitelaw College where he distinguishes himself both in the sciences and in literature but cannot decide what he wants to do. In an odd but critical turn in the book, he leaves Whitelaw before his final year because his uncle proposes to open a cheap restaurant in the community and Peak believes this association with his uncle would shame him. He moves to London where he graduates from the London School of Mines, becomes a chemist, and falls in with a group of radical freethinkers and journalists. He has what seems to be the makings of a successful life. Peak is a skeptic and anonymously publishes an article "The New Sophistry" in a leading magazine which criticizes severely efforts to reconcile Darwinian science and geologic time with religion. The various types of arguments on all sides seem not much different from those in current debate.

Dissatisfied with his social position, Peak leaves London to try to ingratiate himself into the upper classes. Peak says to a friend in a key passage of the book that he does not believe women need to be intelligent or enlightened: women need to be sexual. And so Peak goes to look for a wife and self-destructs in the process. Peak meets a family with a landed estate, the Warricombs, whom he had known from his days at Whitelaw. The father of the family, Martin Warricomb, is a student of geology. Peak pretends to have shifted his career goals to become a minister in the Church of England. Peak ingratiates himself with Martin Warricomb, who is surprisingly liberal minded, by trying to show Warricomb the sincerity of Peak's beliefs and the compatibilty of religious traditionalism with scientific modernism. Peak is interested in Warricomb's daughter, Sidwell, lovely and reserved and religiously traditional and unadventurous. At first, Sidwell is something of a stand-in for class, rather than a person Peak loves for herself. As the story develops, Peak seems to develop something of a genuine love for Sidwell. And oddly, Sidwell comes to love Peak.

Peak lives with tension in his pursuit because he knows he is practicing deceit and living a lie. He is ashamed of doing so. Ultimately the truth comes out when Sidwell's brother Buckland, an old Whitelaw friend, discovers that Peak was the author of the anonymous article "The New Sophistry" which condemned efforts to reconcile religion and science. Buckland is himself a skeptic whose views are rough and not deeply considered but still are similar to Peak's and to modernity. Buckland has found his way to Peak's former small group of friends in London who are amazed that Peak is trying to pass himself off as a prospective clergyman. Buckland confronts Peak with what he has learned and tells Sidwell and Martin. Peak is disgraced and must leave Exeter. Even though she knows the truth, Sidwell still loves Peak. Her own religious and moral views have broadend under their acquaintance to something approaching free thought. Sidwell has achieved a substantial intellectual independence from her family and background. Before Peak leaves, the door is left open that they will marry if Peak establishes himself.

Peak is miserable and lonely but he receives a bequest from an intellectual woman, Marcella Moxey, who unreciprocatedly had long loved him. With his financial future secured, Peak writes Sidwell a love letter, the first time he has opened himself up, proposing marriage. After much anguish, Sidwell rejects Peak and terminates the relationship. For all her intellectual change, Sidwell finds she cannot leave her family and its estate. Rootless and alone, Peak sets out for travel on the continent where he apparently lives the short life of a rake, contacts a disease, and dies homeless and alone.

"Born in Exile" is a study of a modern type, an intelligent, rootless, and confusedly amoral individual, in the dress of late Victorianism. The novel explores the loss of traditional religious faith and the lack of any apparent standards to replace it. Gissing, himself a nonbeliever, did not see humanism, social activism, or other nostrums as providing an adequate substitute for religion. Hence his novels, particularly this one, have a pessimistic philosophical cast.

The book is long, with extensive passages of wordy dialogue and of introspective commentary, both of which are typical to Gissing. Other than the masterful portrayal of Peak, and to some extent the characterization and growth of Sidwell Warricomb, none of the other of the many characters and scenes are well-developed. It takes perseverance to read this book. For interested readers, perseverance will be richly rewarded. Although never likely to become popular, "Born in Exile" is a troubling and deeply perceptive philosophical exploration of modernity. Unfortunately, this book appears out of print. It richly deserves a new edition. I read this book in a Harvester Press edition from the mid-1980s with an introduction by the Gissing scholar Gillian Tindall.

Robin Friedman
Born in Exile (TREDITION CLASSICS) download epub
Humanities
Author: George Gissing
ISBN: 3842455984
Category: Other
Subcategory: Humanities
Language: English
Publisher: tredition (November 11, 2011)
Pages: 480 pages