‘Pagan Moore: Poetry, Painting and Passive Masculinity in George Moore’s Flowers of Passion (1877) and Pagan Poems (1881)’

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Abstract

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
Mendès, 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-92
Number of pages16
JournalVictorian Poetry
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • english literature
  • literary criticism
  • masculinity

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