The Realism of George Moore
The problem. The realist novels of George Moore are extremely unlike one another in content and technique. While scholars have studied in detail the French influences in Moore's writing, the question of whether Moore was something more than an imitator of French fiction and whether he contributed something new to the English realist tradition has not been studied. Procedure. The multifarious literary currents in England during the Nineties were examined. Then George Moore's realist novels were studied with respect to their links with the naturalism of Zola. Finally, the novels of Moore were compared to those of Dickens, Eliot, and Hardy with regard to elements of realism. One typical novel of each author was examined in detail, and references were made to other novels of the three writers. Findings. It was found that Moore brought to the English novel a distinctly new creation in realism. His borrowing from French naturalism was selective and superficial. Moore created a realist novel that was highly objective in tone and technique, concentrating on the cerebral reality of the individual, who for the first time in English fiction, was not a representative of a distinct and strong social environment. Conclusion. While Moore's novels will probably never be ranked beside those of Dickens, Eliot, and Hardy as the great novels of the English language, Moore will be regarded as one who not only sought and found inspiration outside of the English tradition but also contributed something new and different to the tradition of the realist novel.
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