George Gissing eBooks
Gissing was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, to lower-middle class parents. A brilliant student, he won a scholarship to Owens College, the present day University of Manchester. He excelled at university, winning many coveted prizes, including the Shakespeare prize in 1875, but his academic career ended in disgrace when he fell in love with a young prostitute, Marianne Helen Harrison. In an attempt to keep her from the streets he gave her money, and when his own funds ran short he began to steal from his fellow students. Eventually he was caught, expelled from the university, and prosecuted for theft; he was sentenced to one month's hard labour in prison. In October 1876, thanks largely to a few local sympathisers, he was shipped off to the United States, where, when close to starvation, he managed to earn a precarious living by writing short stories for the Chicago Tribune.