In the Late Victorian Social Novel (1880 – 1910) there was a new wave of
accusing elements and from there the so-called “Slum Novel” developed: it
mainly criticized, as may be deferred from the name, the mostly bad living
conditions in slums and contained lots of pessimistic components. Reason for
this was the belief in naturalism, that is that man is a product of his
environment and his living conditions and therefore a positive development of
humans in slums is not possible. The consequence was that man was predestined to
his class and that there was no way of escape, whatsoever.
Again the debate about socialism arose: the main problem seemed to be the
monotony and the sadness in the life of the workers and help could only be
provided through the improvement of the living conditions by patriarchs. The
novels acquired a dark and dreary mood, as they proclaimed the uselessness of
social reforms and criticised the class-system. Socialism seemed to be the only
way for improvement of society.
 cf. Gross, Konrad, Der Englische Soziale Roman im 19. Jahrhundert