Literary London Reading Group

‘There’s a man being hanged in London at this moment’: Metropolitan Time in George Gissing’s New Grub Street.


We’re looking forward to welcoming you to our upcoming meeting, which will take place at 6pm-7.30pm on Tuesday March 14th in Senate House, Room 243. We welcome Dr. Helena Goodwyn, who will be discussing George Gissing’s novel New Grub Street (1891).

 ‘There’s a man being hanged in London at this moment’: Metropolitan Time in George Gissing’s New Grub Street.

Since E. P. Thompson’s now classic book Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism and the later work of scholars such as Stephen Kern in The Culture of Time and Space, 1880-1918 we have understood the latter half of the nineteenth century to be a period in which people experienced a ‘plurality’ of times, some ‘private’, some ‘public’. Taking this theoretical work and turning to George Gissing’s 1891 novel New Grub Street, in this session we will explore that well-known phrase, which is said to have originated from Benjamin Franklin’s 1748 ‘Advice to a young Tradesman, written by an old One’: ‘Time is money’.

 Critical attention to Gissing’s text positions it as the English novel about novelists or as John Halperin has put it: ‘New Grub Street is perhaps the greatest novel ever written about the collision of the creative impulse with material circumstances.’ In this position paper I will demonstrate that time is the currency of the novelist’s existence in New Grub Street just as the streets of London offer spatial markers of the relationship between time and money in the capital city.


New Grub Street, George Gissing: Key excepts from the novel can also be found in our Dropbox, here

The full novel can be found in e-book form via Project Gutenberg, here or at, here.

 Our Speaker:

Dr. Helena Goodwyn is currently a Teaching Associate at the University of Warwick and Queen Mary, University of London. Her interests include British and American literature of the long nineteenth century; pedagogy and practice; book and media history; transatlantic print culture; and the digital humanities. She is the editor of the 2015 collection of essays English Studies: the State of the Discipline, Past, Present, and Future, and author of ‘Room for Confidence: Early Career Feminists in the English Department’, published in Being an Early Career Feminist Academic: Global Perspectives, Experiences and Challenges. She is currently working on her first monograph The Americanization of W. T. Stead.

 We’re looking forward to seeing you all in the coming month!


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This entry was posted on February 16, 2017 by .
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