Half biography and half critical study, this bookabout George Gissing is for the general reader. It draws a parallel between thewomen in Gissing's life and the women in his novels. His books span the lasttwo decades of the nineteenth century and are memorable for their portraits ofwomen. Only a few women played active roles in Gissing's life, but all exerteda lasting influence. Their imprint allowed him to portray women vividly andwith unerring realism, though at times in variable tones of gray...in charcoal.Gissing's feminine portraiture, rendered in shades of somber experience, is oneof the most striking features of his work and one of the most valuable for thereader of today. It derived from his intense and abiding interest in the womenof his time and the way they lived their lives. His portraits of women, warmand human, were shaped in all their detail by an essential sympathy that madethem neither topical nor contemporary but timeless. Some of the women in hislife became models for fictional women as alive today as when he first createdthem.