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English and Creative Writing Research Seminar: 'The power of money is so hard to realise': Realism, Melodrama, Money and Trust in Gissing’s New Grub Street and Wilde’s An Ideal Husband

  • 20 May 2020
  • 2.00PM - 3.00PM
  • Public event: Yes  |  Booking required: No
  • TG.07, The Curve  |  Directions

About | English and Creative Writing Research Seminar: 'The power of money is so hard to realise': Realism, Melodrama, Money and Trust in Gissing’s New Grub Street and Wilde’s An Ideal Husband



Closing date for registrations: 20 May 12.00am

This paper will argue that George Gissing’s New Grub Street (1891) and Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband (1895) foreground, interrogate and enact questions of trust by simultaneously activating and undermining the expectations of readers and audiences whilst raising concerns about poverty and exploitation, financial wrongdoing, and the pervasive power of money. Gissing’s realist novel presents literary realism as a spent force in a literary marketplace with increasingly little space for serious art. Meanwhile, Wilde’s melodramatic society comedy engages playfully with questions of sincerity and authenticity. Both texts, furthermore, elicit and challenge the trust of readers and audiences via their differing forms of self-conscious generic uncertainty and, in so doing, reveal surprising connections between literature and money, reputation, manipulation, performance and fictionality.