Letters to Lady Cunard, 1895-1933

Letters to Lady Cunard, 1895-1933

Letters to Lady Cunard, 1895-1933

Letters to Lady Cunard, 1895-1933

Excerpt

George Moore took a great interest in the writing of his life and was at pains to instruct his biographer elect. When John Eglinton held that position, Moore made more than one journey to Bournemouth to put Eglinton "right on two points in his life which he considered important. One of these was the definite ambition, avowed to Zola, with which he had returned from Paris to England, of winning 'freedom' for English fiction. The other was the story of a grand passion."

When Eglinton withdrew and Charles Morgan was chosen in his place, Moore told Morgan that "the most valuable existing source, outside his own memory and his autobiographical writings, was a certain series of letters addressed by him to a single correspondent". This, Morgan discovered, was Lady Cunard. Moore duly introduced them, but when Morgan asked whether he might see the letters, Lady Cunard refused to show them, even as Madame Viardot had refused to show Turgenev's.

After Moore's death Morgan renewed his request, reinforced by a strong wish expressed in Moore's will: it was again refused, and Morgan abandoned the biography, on which he had already spent much time, because without these letters he knew he could not write the book that he and George Moore had planned. The biography was . . .

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