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George Robert Gissing was an English novelist who published twenty-three novels between 1880 and 1903. From his early naturalistic works, he developed into one of the most accomplished realists of the late-Victorian era. In 1903 Gissing published The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, which brought him much acclaim. This is his most autobiographical work. It is the memoir of the last happy years of a writer who had struggled much like Gissing, but thanks to a late legacy, he had been able to give up writing to retire to the countryside. After a brief flirtation with socialism in his youth, Gissing quickly lost faith in the labour movements and scorned the popular enthusiasms of his day. In 1892, he wrote to his sister Ellen, "I fear we shall live through great troubles yet...We cannot resist it, but I throw what weight I may have on the side of those who believe in an aristocracy of brains, as against the brute domination of the quarter-educated mob."