"Pagan Moore": Poetry, Painting, And Passive Masculinity in George Moore's Flowers of Passion (1877) and Pagan Poems (1881) (Critical Essay)
Victorian Poetry 2007, Spring, 45, 1
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Criticism and the public taste have, following George Moore's own lead, tended to neglect his poetic work. (1) At the publication of Flowers of Passion in autumn 1877, literary voices were united in their disgust toward Moore's blatant treatment of issues such as lesbianism, homosexuality, incest, necrophilia, and cunnilingus--to name just a few. An early reviewer, Edmund Yates, writing in the journal The World, declared that Moore's book of poems should "be burnt by the common hangman, while its writer was being whipped by the cart's tail," (2) and Truth's reviewer castigated the volume as "an insult to society." (3) Despite, or more likely because of, the furore surrounding this first foray into print, Moore went on to produce a second volume of verse, Pagan Poems, in 1881, in which he again used his material in such a provocative way as to guarantee his notoriety. Building upon, if not outrightly plagiarizing, the work of his French and English contemporaries such as Baudelaire and Mendes, Rossetti and Swinburne, these two poetry collections remain intriguing works in their own right because of the manner in which Moore deals with issues of the body, sexuality, gender, and, most particularly, masculinity. This article is not intended to put forward a claim for George Moore as a great or even a particularly good poet. Arguments surrounding the value of Moore's poems were concluded in the pages of the journals that first reviewed them. Instead, I suggest we read the poems as important in two respects: first, as a means to advance the literary personality of "George Moore" with their deliberate sensationalism as part of the authorial construct of "Pagan Moore" (4) and, secondly, as texts which often diverge from their models in Swinburne or Rossetti in their portrayal of a crisis in turn of the century masculinity.
- 2,99 €
- Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
- Published: 22 March 2007
- Publisher: West Virginia University Press, University of West Virginia
- Print Length: 27 Pages
- Language: English