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Reimagining Irish Studies for the Twenty-First Century


Edited By Eamon Maher and Eugene O'Brien

This landmark collection marks the publication of the 100th book in the Reimagining Ireland series. It attempts to provide a «forward look» (as opposed to what Frank O’Connor once referred to as the « backward look») at what Irish Studies might look like in the third millennium. With a Foreword by Declan Kiberd, it also contains essays by several other leading Irish Studies experts on (among other areas) literature and critical theory, sport, the Irish language, food and beverage studies, cinema, women’s writing, Brexit, religion, Northern Ireland, the legacy of the Great Famine, Ireland in the French imagination, archival research, musicology, and Irish Studies in North America. The book is a tribute to Irish Studies’ foundational commitment to revealing and renewing Irishness within and beyond the national space.

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4 Catching the Mood: George Moore’s Fin-de-Siècle Involvements



In one short period of the fin de siècle era, in the time from publication of Modern Painting (1893) to that of The Lake (1905), George Moore (1852–1933) produced nine remarkably dissimilar works,1 an assortment so diverse that it could easily be assumed that no one person was author of them all. The ability and versatility are notable in novels, short stories, critical essays and drama. This varied pattern would seem to chime with the unsettled atmosphere of a millennial epoch. However, it would be an error to assume that the disparate nature of the books is indicative of any authorial unease or millennial fever. This chapter will chart a course through Moore’s publications in those years and will argue that his imagination and resourcefulness, allied to perceptive flair, allowed him to deliver starkly contrasting compositions that furnish intriguing glimpses into the milieux and atmospheres pertaining in the literary, artistic and political worlds of the time.

The divergent approaches taken by Moore are immediately evident in the course of one year, with a very significant difference apparent in style and genre between Modern Painting (1893) and Esther Waters (1894). The former is a collection of articles written by Moore as art critic of The Speaker, and the latter a bestselling novel that broke several Victorian taboos. Modern Painting is notable for its engaged and often-polemical style.2 Here one encounters a flamboyant, opinionated Moore, projecting the image of an avant-garde art...

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