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Moore, George

anglo manage novels muslin

(Anglo-Irish, 1852–1933)

In his day, George Moore was regarded as a writer every bit as scandalous as Bret Easton Ellis in our own. Born into a wealthy Anglo-Irish family, he studied painting in Paris as a young man, where he discovered the uncompromising, naturalistic, anti-romantic novels of French writers such as Zola. He introduced their techniques into his own novels, beginning with A Modern Lover (1883), set in a louche artistic world far removed from conventional Victorian morality. Esther Waters, Moore's most successful novel, describes the life of a young woman who is seduced then deserted and endures a humiliating struggle to bring up her son; the boy's father eventually marries her, but her troubles are still not over. A Drama in Muslin (1886; later retitled simply Muslin by the author) is similarly outspoken and candid: an examination of female sexuality and desire in repressive bourgeois society, based upon the proposition, in Moore's own words, that ‘every married woman today will admit she could manage two men better than her husband could manage two wives’ (discuss!).

Emile Zola, Arnold Bennett.


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