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George Moore’s Paris and his Ongoing French Connections

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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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Melanie Grundmann - ‘The Great Purifying Influence’: Théophile Gautier and George Moore

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MELANIE GRUNDMANN

‘The Great Purifying Influence’: Théophile Gautier and George Moore

French influences

George Moore was much influenced by France and French culture, especially in his youth. In his first autobiography, Confessions of a Young Man1 (1888), Moore detects in himself an early ‘instinctive liking for Frenchmen’.2 He went to Paris to study art as soon as he attained his majority in 1873. Within due time Moore recreated himself ‘in the womb of a new nationality’ and shook himself ‘free from race and language […] assuming its [France’s] ideals, its morals, and its modes of thought’.3 On his involuntary return to England in 1880 Moore claimed of being loaded with ‘dangerous ideas, and an impossible style’, while his writing was ‘rotten with French idiom’.4 He proudly declared ‘French wit was in my brain, French sentiment was in my heart; of the English soul I knew nothing’.5

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