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by George Moore

Always an ambitious novelist, George Moore realised early in the composition of his third novel, 'A Drama In Muslin', how his chosen subject - the sentimental education of five girls born into the gentry of the west of Ireland - could be extended to encompass a study of the prevailing social conditions of the Irish people, who were desperate for political change and growth.
Written in the mid 1880's, the novel reflects the unease of the times when the activities of the Land League began increasingly to jeopardise the security of the landlords and expose the artificiality and moral inadequacies of their way of life, centred on the annual Dublin seasons and receptions at the Castle. Fresh fron their convent school, Alice and Olive Barton, with the aid of their mother (one of Moore's most brilliant portraits) , are set in quest of their identities and in pursuit of a husband, for as Mrs Barton asserts 'Marriage gives a girl liberty, gives her admiration, gives her success, a woman's whole position depends on it'. Alice, the more observant and intelligent of the two, quickly appreciates how completely their choices in life are conditioned by the social tensions of the age, which render words like 'Liberty' and 'Success' meaningless. Her Growth in sensibility is everywhere matched by developing moral insights and discriminations
about her class which compel her finally to renounce her background. Moore himself came of the Mayo gentry but his sympathies, like his father's before him, were Nationalist and liberal.

ISBN: 9780861400560

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