|Moore by Manet|
Today I lunched with George Moore at 121 Ebury Street. Nice London house, with fine pictures. A marvellous Claude Monet and ditto Constable. I said "So you have two Manet's." He said "I am the only man in London who has two Manet's." Not true of course. The house was very neat and well kept; but in the nicely furnished embrasure on the half-landing, I saw a collection of hat boxes etc. hidden in a corner.
Moore's novel "The Mummer's Wife" (1885) was an inspiration to me, set as it is in the Potteries and in realistic style. It was regarded as unsuitable by Mudie's, and W H Smith refused to stock it on their news-stalls. Despite this, during its first year of publication the book was in its fourteenth edition mainly due to the publicity garnered by its opponents. His next novel, A Drama in Muslin, was also banned by Mudie's and Smith's. In response Moore declared war on the circulating libraries by publishing two provocative pamphlets; Literature at Nurse and Circulating Morals. In these, he complained that the libraries profit from salacious popular fiction while refusing to stock serious literary fiction.
Moore said that even I used French words sometimes in writing, and that he objected to it. I said I never did. He cited the word "flair". I told him it had become English. He wouldn't have that. He was curious about the financial side of letters. Like other people, he could not believe I can't get my plays produced.
He said that when Bernstein had a play on the stocks he went to a manager and said to the manager: "The play will be finished on such a date. You will pay me so much. I shall have so much for scenery etc. I shall be allowed to engage artistes up to so much weekly. I shall conduct the rehearsals. You will be permitted to come to the last three rehearsals." He assured me this was true, and that the manager would (at any rate officially) know nothing about the play until the end.
|Moore in 1921|