01 August

1 August 1920

2 Portland Villas, Hampstead - London

 [. . .] Although conversation of the kind is seldom very fruitful, while young writers gather together it would be hard to find a topic more suited to their enthusiasm than ‘Who are, when all is said and done, our best writers to-day, and why do we think so?' Present-day literature consists almost entirely of poetry and the novel, and when it is the latter which has been under discussion; when there has been a furious rage of condemning, admiring, prophesying, upholding; when all is over and the participants have distributed to their satisfaction the laurel and the bay, it is not uncommon to hear, from a corner, an American or a French voice upraised: ‘But what about Mr George Moore?' Of course; how strange! How difficult it is to explain how so distinguished a figure in modern letters comes to be forgotten! And even when we recall him to memory do we not see him dim, pale, shadowy, vanishing round this corner, disappearing behind that door, almost in the rôle of expert private detective to his novels rather than author, ... This, too, in spite of his detachment and candour, taking into account the delighted retracing, retracking himself down, so to say, for which he is famous. We have no other writer who is so fond of talking of his art. So endless is his patience, so sustained his enthusiasm, we have the feeling that he cannot refrain from confiding in the stupid public, simply because he cannot keep silent. And yet - there is the strange fact. While we are engaged in reading Mr George Moore's novels he is ‘there,' but once they are put back on the shelves he has softly and silently vanished away until he is heard of again. [. . .] [Review of Esther Waters by George MooreAthenaeum, 6 August 1920]