Always at the centre of cultural change and excitement, the Irish writer George Moore enjoyed a sixty-year literary career during which he wrote prolifically, befriended artists and authors from Paris to London to Dublin, and rejected marriage though never the company of women. This book - the first full, documentary biography of Moore since 1936 - tells the remarkable story of a high-spirited man and his pathbreaking innovations as a writer. Adrian Frazier has mined letters, memoirs, society journals, writings not previously attributed to Moore, and other archives to reveal new information about Moore's early life, his ostensibly promiscuous bachelor days, and his complex career as an author. The book provides an engaging account of Moore's pursuit of his passions, from his early, failed attempt to become an artist in Paris in the 1870s through his long career as an author. Moore wrote plays, poetry, criticism, short stories, and sixteen novels, among them his best-known Esther Walters. His experiments in style ranged from the naturalistic A Mummer's Wife to the stream of consciousness prose of The Lake to the seamless, fluent narratives of his late manner - the comic Hail and Farewell and the epic The Brook Kerith. Frazier records the relationships between Moore and his well-known friends - Yeats, Joyce, Archer, Shaw, Frank Harris, Sickert, Whistler, and others - and with the many women in his life, including his greatest love, Lady Cunard. At the end of his life, Moore sought, without success, a biographer who would candidly tell the story of his life, loves, and art. Adrian Frazier has written that story.
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Adrian Frazier is professor of English at Union College, Schenectady.From Publishers Weekly:
A visitor to George Moore's bachelor flat in London in 1896 was astonished to see no books. What did "G.M." (as he was known) do with his time? the guest wonderedD"look at his pictures by Manet and Monet, and Morisot? Tread his Aubusson carpet?" "O, I write until... dinner," Moore said. "Writing bores me less than anything else." Along with Shaw, Yeats and others, according to Frazier in this splendid biography, "Moore was one of the writers of Irish birth who remade English literature at the end of the nineteenth century." He was one of the first to deliberately fictionalize autobiography and biography in literary form. Again and again, he retold the stories of his past (and seldom the same way)Dhis years at Moore Hall in County Mayo, Impressionist Paris, Victorian London and the Dublin of the Irish literary revival. But Frazier, a professor of English at Union College, argues that Moore's "chief creation" was "George Moore," a fictional self that was "at least in some ways unattractive, even repellent." Laced with uncommon wit, affection and attention to Moore's failings and absurdities, Frazier's biography, the first since the 1930s, is likely to reverse the long slide Moore's reputation has experienced since his death. Well researched and persuasive, the volume should also return readers to Moore's writingDhis great, Zolaesque novel Esther Waters, his Chekhovian short stories and the "fabulations of his inescapably literary being" (as Frazier call them), such as Hail and Farewell and Memoirs of My Dead Life. 31 illus. (June)
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