Read In the Year of Jubilee by George Gissing Free Online
Book Title: In the Year of Jubilee|
The author of the book: George Gissing
Edition: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press
Date of issue: January 1st 1976
ISBN 13: 9780838618868
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 397 KB
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Reader ratings: 4.2
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In The Year Of The Jubilee is a novel by George Gissing written in 1894. The title refers to the Golden Jubilee in 1887, marking Queen Victoria’s 50th year on the throne. It has been said that this novel was written in Gissing’s best, strongest period. I really have no idea if that is true, I'll leave it to the experts, I do know however, that for me it's my least favorite Gissing novel of those I've read so far. Only part way into the book I was wondering if Gissing hated all women, certain women in particular, or simply hated marriage. By the end of the novel I was wondering if he hated just about everybody. I know as far as the characters in the book, by the end of the novel I pretty well hated everybody.
No one in this book who is married is happy. No one in this book who is married, or engaged, or only thinking of getting married is happy. The only people who may be happy are those who either never got married at all or who left their spouse. It doesn't seem to matter either whether you are rich or poor or middle-class, as long as you are married and living with your spouse your life will be miserable.
Our two main characters, the hero and heroine I suppose, are Nancy Lord and Lionel Tarrant who unfortunately for them, for us, and for everyone else, get married. They have a very different type of marriage from what I am used to. One in which Tarrant seduces Nancy, then to his credit I suppose, he does marry her, but is only too willing to keep the marriage secret. In fact once he finds out she is pregnant he leaves town; for the Bahamas supposedly to find a way of supporting Nancy and the child, but really to get away from his unwanted responsibilities. I hate this guy already and he hasn't even talked that much yet. His views on marriage, once he decides to reappear over a year later, drive me crazy.
But back to Nancy and her brother Horace. They have been raised by their father, their mother being dead. Mr. Lord is a piano dealer, and he has his children well educated, in fact Nancy considers herself "a highly educated young woman,--'cultured' was the word she would have used." Now Nancy is done with schooling and she "wished to live, and not merely to vegetate." It is this restless spirit of Nancy's that gets her in trouble.
Then there is Horace. Horace had been a disappointment to his father. In spite of his good education, Horace had disappointed his father who hoped that he would choose some professional career; he idled away his schooldays and ultimately had to be sent into 'business.' It was doubtful that Horace would do any better in business, he made little progress and only earned a small salary. Nancy is angry with her brother for his lack of energy and ambition, he could have helped have helped to establish her own social status at the level she desired if he would have established his own by his increased professional dignity. Horace falls in love with one of the three "French" sisters in the novel, Fanny French, a vulgar, low class, femme fatale. It doesn't matter what she does, or who she does it with, Horace stubbornly sticks to her eventually marrying her, and guess what, his life ends badly.
Fanny's sisters are Beatrice and Ada. Beatrice at least I could tolerate, she is a very good businesswoman selling cheaply made dresses to women who think they are fashionable. Beatrice doesn't seem to care what other people think, she gives Nancy a job even though her reputation is no longer pure, but it comes at a price, only after Nancy tells her the name of the man who seduced her and fathered her child will she give her employment. The other sister is unfortunately married and so her life is a disaster. Her poor husband is Arthur Peachey who only becomes happy after he finally leaves her.
I like Nancy for awhile. After Tarrant abandons her for the Bahamas and America she gets a job with Beatrice French instead of just sitting around crying for Tarrant. Then when he returns sending her a note telling her he is back instead of weeping with happiness and gratitude she sends him this note:
"'As your reward for marrying me is still a long way off, and as you tell me that you are in want, I send you as much as I can spare at present. Next month you shall hear from me again.'"
I loved that, it's something I would have done. However, by the end of the book she is meekly living where he wants her to, fulfilling his every wish. Later in the book this is part of their conversation:
'Friends are equals,' she said, after a little thought. 'But you don't think me your equal, and you won't be satisfied with me unless I follow your guidance.'
Tarrant laughed kindly.
'True, I am your superior in force of mind and force of body. Don't you like to hear that? Doesn't it do you good -- when you think of the maudlin humbug generally talked by men to women? We can't afford to disguise that truth. All the same, we are friends, because each has the other's interest at heart, and each would be ashamed to doubt the other's loyalty.'
Ugh, my reaction would have been much different than Nancy's was. As I write this my opinion of the book is actually rising, I was prepared when I closed the book to rate it one star, but now I'm up to three, it wasn't a badly written book, it just rubbed me the wrong way. I would advise anyone who asked me to read it. I guess if I only read books I totally agreed with my read and to-read lists would be much different, but I don't think I'll be re-reading it anytime soon, there's only so much of Lionel Tarrant I could stand.
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Read information about the authorGeorge Robert Gissing was an English novelist who published 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.
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