A Message from Professor Pierre Coustillas
Greetings to all admirers of George Gissing. Whether I must introduce myself is doubtful as anyone even slightly acquainted with his personality and the bulk of his fiction is likely to have come across my name, but to anyone who is discovering my existence, I may at least say that, since the early 1960s, I have been trying in many books and articles to define his status as a major late Victorian novelist. I have commented, in English and in French, on various aspects of his fiction, I have written a (still unpublished) biography of him which I am now going to revise thoroughly, I have edited or coedited his correspondence, translated into French, on my own or in collaboration, a number of his works, the latest title being By the Ionian Sea.
Gissing studies are very much alive and each of us can help to make the works known to a larger audience by becoming a discreet yet persuasive propagandist. It is gratifying to know that our favourite writer has friends, not only in the academic world, as has been the case in the last few decades, but also in the world of journalism, and of course among general readers. It is essential that his name should appear as often as possible in the press, opportunities being offered by the publication of new editions, of new books by him (like those based on his private papers, carefully edited by Bouwe Postmus) or about him (like the forthcoming The Gissing Memoirs of Brian Ború Dunne), or indeed by unexpected events such as the worldwide use of the word paparazzo/paparazzi after the tragic death of Princess Diana.
New books of Gissing interest will be published in the next few years, books of biographical, bibliographical and critical interest--in England and America, also in Italy, possibly in Germany. For Gissing to be better known to cultured readers in non-English-speaking countries, it is important that translations of his works should be published. The specific nature of his work, best acknowledged (and praised) by George Orwell, can leave no audience indifferent. It is also desirable that the topographical aspects of his life and work should be studied. Much material of that kind has been collected but very little has been published, and it is to be hoped that some day a pictorial life of him will be available.
Please note that the Gissing Journal, a quarterly publication of 40 pages publishes articles and notes about his life and work. In theory all subjects are acceptable--whether they deal with biographical, critical, bibliographical, genealogical or topographical matters. Collectors, among other people, should share their knowledge.
My address is 10, rue Gay-Lussac, 59110 La Madeleine, France.
* I deeply regret to inform you that Pierre passed away on Saturday, 11 August 2018.