NOTE ON THE TEXT
GEORGE MOORE revised most of his works repeatedly, in some cases practically producing new books altogether. He revised Esther Waters extensively for the edition of 1899, correcting mistakes, such as Esther's baptism of her child in Chapter XIX (see note), making a number of quite substantial alterations, and rewriting for more consistent style and narrative point-of-view so thoroughly that only a score of pages were unaltered. The 1899 edition is several thousand words shorter than the first edition Of 1894. He revised again in 1917 and 1920, this time mainly limiting himself to points of detail, though making a few substantial modifications to tidy up the action of the 1899 edition. A catalogue of the revisions would occupy dozens of pages, and R. A. Gettmann summarizes their cumulative effect in ' George Moore's Revisions of The Lake, The Wild Goose, and Esther Waters', PMLA 59 ( June 1944), pp. 540-55:
1. Action and description are increasingly presented through Esther's eyes, although there is no new lyricism or inner reverie, such as he would normally have written into his later fiction.
2. A few passages of exposition are recast as dialogue.
3. Certain unnecessary 'signpost' sentences are removed, such as 'Sarah was the first to speak', etc.
4. Certain descriptive details are omitted, such as the exact placing of windows in a room, when these play no part in the action.
5. There is a greater variety of sentence structure, and more fluidity, especially in the accumulation of detail, and sequences of events.
6. The dialogue becomes more colloquially confident, and the tone more even.

-xxiii-

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