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George Moore’s Paris and his Ongoing French Connections


Edited By Michel Brunet, Fabienne Gaspari and Mary Pierse

The formative influences of Paris and France on the Anglo-Irish writer George Moore (1852–1933) cannot be underestimated. While the years Moore spent in Paris in the 1870s were seminal for his artistic awakening and development, the associations and friendships he formed in French literary and artistic circles exerted an enduring influence on his creative career. Moore maintained close ties with France throughout his life and his numerous contacts extended to social, musical and cultural spheres. He introduced the Impressionists to a British audience and his importation of French literary innovation into the English novel was remarkable.
Exploring Moore’s early years in Paris and his ongoing engagement with the experimental modernity of his French models, these essays offer new insights into this cosmopolitan writer’s work. Moore emerges as a turn-of-the-century European artist whose eclectic writings reflect the complex evolution of literature from Naturalism to Modernism through Symbolism and Decadence.
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Isabelle Enaud-Lechien - Moore-Degas-Paris: Exchanges, Reminiscences and Intersecting Arts


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Moore-Degas-Paris: Exchanges, Reminiscences and Intersecting Arts

The meeting of George Moore (1852–1933) and Edgar Degas (1845–1917) took place in 1876, just three years after a young twenty-year-old Moore arrived in Paris, gripped by his original aim of becoming a painter,1 and some years before he turned finally to literature.2 Moore remained in Paris ‘for seven good years, my friend, like a sponge I tell you, letting myself soak in everything, be totally permeated’.3 Moore would refer on numerous occasions to this meeting and to the relationship between the two men up to 1890, the date of their break-up. The experiences of that period would percolate through some fifteen of Moore’s writings (fiction, memoirs, art criticism and even poetry) right up to the time of his death.4

Information on how Degas viewed Moore is very sketchy: there is no mention of Moore in the painter’s published letters; there is considerable doubt concerning authorship of a sketch of Moore which had previously ← 19 | 20 → been attributed to Degas.5 Their closeness during the 1870s is attested to by several close contacts, especially at the time that both men were regulars at the Nouvelle Athènes. One such witness is Daniel Halévy (1872–1962) whose family were friendly with the painter and lived in the same area,6 and he records asking Degas if he had known Zola at the time when L’Œuvre7 was published: ‘No’ (and his...

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