George Gissing, who lived in London in the late 1800s, appears to be a stunningly interesting writer from a sociological point of view. I sometimes regret that there have never been many working class authors. Most authors were middle class who wrote for middle class readers. Even today, I don't think you get many working class views in fiction. The only working class author I can think of off the top of my head is Andy McNab, who writes war stories. Most of Dickens' heroes are actually lower middle class, although they certainly rub shoulders with the working class. Thomas Hardy seems to have specialised in the rural poor, but I wondered if anyone wrote about factory workers and the city poor. I think Mrs Gaskell may have done to some degree. Gissing was not working class, but he lived with them. He had to do a month's hard labour as a young man when he got in trouble with the law, married a prostitute, then later married another working class woman. His first five books were about the working classes. Interestingly, he does not seem to have been any great, left-wing radical. The articles I read say he was deeply conservative, and became disillusioned with working class folk. He is also sometimes described as a proto-feminist, yet at other times as misogynistic. He does not seem very misogynistic from what I have read so far. It is no great surprise that George Orwell was a fan. Something they have in common was that they were both fans of Dickens and they both wrote famous essays on him. Gissings' best books appear to be The Nether World, New Grub Street and The Odd Women, although Orwell substituted Demos for The Nether World. The Whirlpool tends to be mentioned in articles about him as well. The Nether World was his first book that was well received by the reading public, and the last to deal with working class life. New Grub Street is about the literary world in the late Victorian period. The Odd Women is about a pair of women who try to live independent lives. It's a pity, however, that from what I have read so far, his books seem a little chilly. They are low on love and laughs.