Three generations of critics have commented on the parallels between George Orwell and his favorite novelist, George Gissing. -½I am a great fan of his,-+ Orwell wrote in 1948, proclaiming -½that England has produced very few better novelists.-+ This in-depth study reveals that Orwell drew heavily on the Gissing novels he admired in shaping his own. Gissing's New Grub Street and The Odd Women directly influenced Orwell's Depression-era novels Keep the Aspidstra Flying and A Clergyman's Daughter. Even Orwell's most imaginative work, Animal Farm, mirrors Gissing's own novel of a failed Socialist Utopia, Demos. Gissing was Orwell's role model and alter ego. Gissing provided him with a touchstone to his beliefs, his pessimism, his love of Dickens and cozy corners, his suspicion of -½progress,-+ his restless sexuality. To understand Orwell fully, one must first read Gissing.
Orwell and Gissing
American University Studies Series IV, English Language and Literature
Education & Reference