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Demos: A Story of English Socialism

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By: (1857-1903)


"Richard Mutimer is delighted to inherit a large fortune. As a socialist, he means to use it well: he will open a factory in which workers would be treated well, he will advance his party's causes through his own wealth... At least, so he thinks. But reality may be far different. This novel raises more questions than answers. How much should money play in the marriage market, or can love have a prominent place? Can a man who gained power remain a socialist? This book is not only about political unrest. It is a story of a man who changes, for better or worse, and all the forces that shape him. Like other works by Gissing, it describes the London slums in the 19th century, the conditions of the working class, and a few families (some dysfunctional and some great). It was a favourite of George Orwell's, who developed some of Gissing's earlier themes in his own works. It is also reminiscent of works by authors such as Anthony Trollope. It is the only novel by Gissing which was adapted into film." Note: There are two chapters in this book with the same number: XXVI, apparently a numbering error in the printed edition. The audiobook follows the same numbering.

First Page:

DEMOS

By George Gissing

[Editor's Note: There are two chapters in this book with the same number: XXVI.; on looking up other print copies, I find the same numbering error also present.]

CHAPTER I

Stanbury Hill, remote but two hours' walk from a region blasted with mine and factory and furnace, shelters with its western slope a fair green valley, a land of meadows and orchard, untouched by poisonous breath. At its foot lies the village of Wanley. The opposite side of the hollow is clad with native wood, skirting for more than a mile the bank of a shallow stream, a tributary of the Severn. Wanley consists in the main of one long street; the houses are stone built, with mullioned windows, here and there showing a picturesque gable or a quaint old chimney. The oldest buildings are four cottages which stand at the end of the street; once upon a time they formed the country residence of the abbots of Belwick. The abbey of that name still claims for its ruined self a portion of earth's surface; but, as it had the misfortune to be erected above the thickest coal seam in England, its walls are blackened with the fume of collieries and shaken by the strain of mighty engines... Continue reading book >>


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