Jason Harding

  • George Moore, 1852-1933 by Adrian Frazier
    Yale, 604 pp, £29.95, May 2000, ISBN 0 300 08245 2

In February 1932, on the occasion of George Moore’s 80th birthday, a group of distinguished London literati published an encomium in the Times paying homage to ‘a master of English letters’. Today there are few critics who would find a place for him in a pantheon of English novelists – of his 16 novels and numerous short stories, only Esther Waters counts as a ‘Penguin Classic’. That said, Moore’s social life and literary career continue to provide a fertile ground for enthusiasts; more often than not as source material for whimsical and mildly defamatory character sketches. Adrian Frazier’s painstakingly researched new biography of Moore marks a considerable advance on Joseph Hone’s respectful but pedestrian 1936 standard biography and Tony Gray’s lively but unscholarly 1996 Life.

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