Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Child of the Jago” as Want to Read:
A Child of the Jago
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Child of the Jago

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  250 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Here is the only critical edition of Arthur Morrison's searing tale of life in the slums of London's East End. Peter Miles's comprehensive edition offers unrivalled contextual material about the book, its author, and the social debates to which it contributed. The introduction discusses the real slums of London, Morrison's life and work, the social politics of the book, an ...more
Paperback, 217 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Oxford University Press (first published 1896)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Child of the Jago, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Child of the Jago

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 426)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Rachel Stevenson
Gang violence, running battles with the police, an underclass stealing everything that isn't nailed down? Let's hope Osborne & co haven't read this novel; they'll be using it as a blueprint for our future society.

Coming off somewhere between Dickens and Zola, Morrison writes not particularly sympathetically about life in the Victorian Shoreditch slum but posits, against the prevailing belief of the time, that criminality is caused by poverty rather than it being the natural character of the
Melissa Jackson
The plight of everyone in this story is excruciating and utterly depressing to read. The despair and tragedy is literally non-stop. Yet somehow, through all the death and poverty and horror of the Victorian working class condition, there are moments of poignant beauty.
Painful story of an impovershed family in London who must lie, steal and murder to feed themselves. Statement on the demoralizing effects of hunger, poverty and ghetto mentality.
Naturalism has been called the literature of "pessimistic materialistic determinism"...and by golly Arthur Morrison gives us a basinful in A Child of the Jago, his 1896 novel of slum-life in the East End of London. Taking his cue from arch-Naturalist Émile Zola’s view of mankind as “human beasts”, Morrison tells the story of young Dicky Perrott – doomed at conception to poverty, squalor, ignorance, immorality, and violence thanks to “the grimed walls and foul earth”, “the close, mingled stink” o ...more
Elizabeth Moffat
The East End of London in the late 19th century was sometimes quite a pitiful place, the slums in particular, where just making it through the day was an achievement in itself. Crime, violence, prostitution and poverty were rife, and I think Arthur Morrison paints a vivid portrait of the squalor at that period of time in this short novel. Our main character, Dicky Perrott has known nothing else but the life in the Jago, with only one rule for life – “thou shall not nark,” and seen no other solut ...more
This book reminds me of Oliver Twist but without any 'Dicken's sentimentality.'
I was quite shocked to read about death, murder, beatings and rape described in such a stark and graphic way. But in some ways was appreciative of the fact that Arthur Morrison does not shy away from the harsh reality of slum life in 1980s London.
Unlike Morrison, Dickens rewards his character at the end with a loving middle class family. Dicky has no escape from the violent life of London.
In the same way i was quite
This book was an eye-opener for me. Although, set in an English slum in the Victorian era, this story can be applied to dwellers of the inner-city in my own country.

It seems that Morrison wants the reader to think about how social class impacts on an individual's destiny. From an early age, Dicky Perrot appeareded to be on a downward spiral, not because he was a bad person but due to the fact that he grew up in an environment that never stimulated positive moral development. Productive ambition
The Jago was a corner of Shoreditch, notorious as the filthiest of London's 19th century slums. In his 2nd East End work, A. Morrison brings to life all the squalor of this area, among whose only commandment was "thou shall not nark."
When this was presented to me as a "slum novel" I was prepared to hate it. I expected poverty, thugs, filth ... in short, a celebration of human indecency, like "Gangs of New York" in prose form. Well, there was certainly all that, yet strangely I still liked it.

Through all the suffering, ugliness, and ignorance portrayed in this novel, there is also a childlike ... sweetness, for lack of a better word. And not simply because the story focuses on a young boy and his interactions with family, fr
Sep 26, 2007 David rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in documentary study of Victorian literature
Imagine a book that starts out like a generic imitation of Dickens, like most Victorian socially-interested novels, initially light-hearted, which degenerates into gut-splattering violence a few chapters in.

Morisson's only remembered work displays all the hallmarks of naturalism, and is probably best remembered for its sociopathy. From the mass violence scenes where the bodies of flat, empty characters are battered to the death of Looey who is replaced by another faceless girl child, an event na
Set in London's East End during the late 1800s, Morrison's novel is an account of a boy who comes of age during the work and the struggles he, his family, and neighbors face in this slum. Morrison exhibits how some of the poor are able to rise above their inherent conditions in order to make honest and reliable incomes, but also captures the many failures as well. Though tragic and heartbreaking, Morrison's message that people in general are products of their environments rings as true as the be ...more
While not a fan of most of his short stories I thought I should probably try and read Morrison's novel about the slums in East London. It was odd in lots of ways. It seemed to be under the impression that every poor person was a criminal, and that they were criminals because it was easier than working, not because there were no jobs. (Women's work was ignored or discounted). The oddest thing was that a bunch of homes were destroyed and people made homeless in order to build a new church at great ...more
The story of young Dicky Perrott provides a fascinating look at the impoverished community and culture of a notorious slum in late Victorian London.
Jennie Wilson
I cannot believe this was written at the turn of the last century! A gritty, visceral down-and-out, just how I like them. Very British.
Loved this book - really evokes the life of the Jago as it must have been - semi fictional but based on true events
Amy Layton
This book was very fun to read! The footnotes were extra helpful, and I loved all the appendices in the back.
Enlightening Victorian Era story of poverty, but so dismal.
Great novel, good insight into poverty at the time...Sad ending!
A really interesting account of what life was like in the east end slums of London, written by a contemporary. Appalling conditions, we basically follow the (mis)fortunes of one family. Plainly and unsentimentally written, characters were still well drawn. Once in the slum, it is nigh on impossible to get out or turn you life around and depressingly can't help but feel this is still the case for some people living in bad situations in this country today.
Horrifying, atmospheric, tragic, based on the reality of lives in part of east London in the late nineteenth century. Although this is a work of fiction, the picture of impoverished lives it creates (and creates well) is backed up elsewhere by factual accounts of the time and place. Those of us from a working class city background should be very, very grateful we did not live through such experiences.
A typical victorian piece, decsribing not that much the industrial revolution, but the poor conditions of people living in the Jago. Morrison focuses on one particular family in slums and he illustrates how diffiult it was to overcome all social predjudice and to improve one's social status. He deals with themes of poverty, child-parental relationships, social hiearchy, crime and death. Shocking.
A lot better than I thought it would be, with vivid descriptions and a real, gritty world created. You really do invest yourself in these characters, well, you invest yourself in Dicky Perrott, and become like a member of the Jago clan. The ending, however, whilst probably fitting as far as where the book could have gone, leaves the reader feeling rather deflated and unsatisfied.

The story of a squalid life of crime and grime in the East End. Gang fights, stabbings for no reason other than rivalry and petty theft. All sounds a bit too familiar, history repeats itself. Ultimately a bit depressing but thankfully it's not a long read. Now off to read something a bit less depressing.
Alex Csicsek
This Victorian slum novel comes across as the kind of book that happens when a journalist decides he's going to turn his energies to fiction. It's an interesting, straight-forward story, but the character development, plot, and extensive setting were probably of more interest to contemporary readers.
A completely absorbing tale of life in a London slum in the late 1880s. This is a book that I will read again and again - it is so real that you feel that you are part of it instead of being an onlooker. If you like Dickens you will love this.Can't rate it highly enough.
Shaun Prescott
A stuffy old Victorian novel about the Old Nichol slums in East London, just before they were dismantled to make way for the Boundary Estate. Best read as an historical curio than a novel. I chased this up after reading about it in Lynsey Hanley's 'Estates'.
Just your usual realist novel that continually likens the poor to rats and exploitatively depicts children's deaths.
Kelly Holdaway
I enjoyed this novel, despite its unrelenting bleakness I found an affinity with the characters.
another college required reading book. This is what you get when you are an english major
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 14 15 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Heavenly Twins
  • The Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum
  • Sons and Princes
  • The Nether World
  • The Blood of the Vampire
  • Plague Child (Tom Neave, #1)
  • The Bluejay Shaman
  • Australians: Origins to Eureka (Australians, #1)
  • The Romance of a Shop
  • Confessions of a Thug
  • Clear Blue Sky
  • Late Rain
  • The Few
  • The Aimee Leduc Companion: A Guide to Cara Black's Paris
  • The Stalking of Julia Gillard
  • Homefires
  • Restore My Heart (Mustang Sally Trilogy #1)
  • The Moghul
Arthur George Morrison (1863-1945) was an English author and journalist, known for his realistic novels about London's East End and for his detective stories. In 1890, he left his job as a clerk at the People's Palace and joined the editorial staff of the Evening Globe newspaper. The following year, he published a story titled "A Street", which was subsequently published in book form in Tales of M ...more
More about Arthur Morrison...

Share This Book