Classic novel. According to Wikipedia: "George Robert Gissing (November 22, 1857 December 28, 1903) was an English novelist who wrote twenty-three novels between 1880 and 1903. From his early naturalistic works, he developed into one of the most accomplished realists of the late-Victorian era. ... In 1880 when his first novel, Workers in the Dawn, proved to be an abject failure, he became a private tutor to keep poverty from the door. In 1883, he separated from his wife, now an alcoholic, but gave her a weekly income on what little money he had until her death in 1888. In 1884 his second novel, The Unclassed, which saw a marked improvement in style and characterisation, met with moderate critical acclaim. After this Gissing published novels almost on a yearly basis, but so little money did they bring him, that for several more years he had to continue working as a tutor. Although notoriously exploited by his publishers, he was able to visit Italy in 1889 from the sale of the copyright of The Nether World, his most pessimistic book. Between 1891 and 1897 (his so-called middle period) Gissing produced his best works, which include New Grub Street, Born in Exile, The Odd Women, In the Year of Jubilee, and The Whirlpool. In advance of their time, they variously deal with the growing commercialism of the literary market, religious charlatanism, the situation of emancipated women in a male-dominated society, the poverty of the working classes, and marriage in a decadent world. During this period, having belatedly become aware of the financial rewards of writing short stories for the press, he produced almost seventy stories. As a result he was able to give up teaching. ... The middle years of the decade saw Gissing's reputation reach new heights: by some critics he is counted alongside George Meredith and Thomas Hardy as one of the best three novelists of his day. He also enjoyed new friendships with fellow writers such as Henry James, and H.G. Wells, and came into contact with many other up and coming writers such as Joseph Conrad and Stephen Crane. ... In 1903 Gissing published The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, which brought him much acclaim. This is his most autobiographical work. It is the memoir of the last happy years of a writer who had struggled much like Gissing, but thanks to a late legacy had been able to give up writing to retire to the countryside."