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of the letters is complete and joins these two volumes on our library shelves, Dr. Wilson will have made the life and achievement of the brilliantly engaging Charles Sorley available to us in what may be their final form. Larry K. Uffelman Mansfield University 11. HUDSON AND GISSING Dennis Shrubsall and Pierre Coustillas, eds. Landscapes and Literati: Unpublished Letters of W. H. Hudson and George Gissing. Wilton, Salisbury: Michael Russell, 1985. £12.95 The works of Hudson and Gissing have appeared in uniform editions, but not their letters. Many remain unprinted, and those published are in volumes grouped according to recipients or subject, schemes that are logical but restnctive. This latest collection is more heterogeneous. It contains one hundred Hudson letters to seventeen recipients, and nine letters from Gissing to Hudson. The editors' credentials are impeccable: Shrubsall is the author of W. H. Hudson: Writer and Naturalist (1978); Coustillas, the leading Gissing authority, has brought many Gissing letters into print; edited his London diary, much of his fiction, and (with Colin Partridge) a collection of its reviews; and is the author of countless essays on Gissing and the editor of The Gissing Newsletter. In Landscapes and Literati a nine-page introduction reviews Hudson's career and identifies each of the major correspondents. Copious footnotes (happily at the foot of the page) identify other recipients, places, and persons. What makes these letters so useful—and justifies the title of the collection—is their detail about the movements of Hudson and his literary friends, all amazingly peripatetic, and the comments about what they are reading and writing. There is an index, a list of Hudson's works, and two listings of the letters: one in chronological sequence, the other giving the number of letters printed for each of the years covered, 1887 to 1921. The book itself is handsome: the typeface attractive and the cover a rich green (appropriate for two such lovers of nature as Hudson and Gissing) with lettering in bright gold (suggesting an affluence that so long eluded them). Here we have all the correspondence between Hudson and Gissing thought to have survived: Hudson's seventeen letters, written from 1893 to 1898, and Gissing's nine, written between 1889 and 1903. There is also a letter Hudson wrote to the French woman Gissing considered his third wife, Gabrielle Fleury, when she was in England after his death in the foothills of the Pyrenees at the end of 1903. And there are twenty-eight letters to Algernon Gissing written between 1894 and 1921, the year before Hudson's death. The letters depict both Hudson and George Gissing in the years after they had attained a certain degree of financial security. But neither writer could forget the terrible early struggles in the shadow of starvation that followed nis arrival in England, Hudson at age thirty-five from Argentina in 1876, Gissing, not yet twenty, a year later, back from his brief exile in the United States. Drawn to London by 453 literary aspirations, both escaped it whenever they could, Hudson for long periods in the southem counties he lovingly described in prose of unexcelled grace and clarity, Gissing to keep his second wife and their children away from the squalid streets that had proved so disastrous to his first wife. The first of Gissing's letters to Hudson is from Athens, where, characteristically, his delight in the Acropolis is undercut by dismay over his loneliness and the cost of decent accommodations. Later letters keep the friends informed of each other's peregrinations, publications, and reading. We never forget that these are literary men, restive when ill or in uncomfortable living conditions largely because their writing suffers thereby. Four of Gissing's letters are from France, where after the collapse of his second marriage he sought improved health and a new life with Gabrielle Fleury. The last, written in May 1903, seven months before his death, speaks of his "generally ailing state," inability to work, and fear that he will never again see the English fields described in Hudson's new book, Hampshire Days. Hudson could appreciate Gissing's longing: accepting an invitation to Wilfred Scawen Blunt's Sussex estate two years...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 453-455
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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