George Gissing (1857-1903) wrote a series of startling novels principally set in London, including New Grub Street, The Whirlpool, The Nether World and The Odd Women. He lived a chaotic, often poverty-striken life from which he frequently drew for his fiction. He is generally viewed as the greatest English realist novelist. He was a friend and contemporary of Joseph Conrad, H.G. Wells and Henry James.