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BOOK REVIEWS who underwrote her early efforts, himself pilloried the housing reformer Octavia Hill for having remarked—truthfully—that he was mismanaging the finances of St. George's Guild, but Hilton gladly piles on, styling her a "tiresome," perfidious "manageress of philanthropy." Lacking Hilton 's hindsight, many Ruskin associates, from Benjamin Jowett to Kathleen Olander, are taken to task for not recognizing what they could or should have done for him. A corollary effect of Hilton's empathy is his apparently seeing himself , like his subject, as a lonely voice. Central to his interpretive and rhetorical stances is the notion that Nobody Reads Ruskin: "The nature of Ruskin's writing has never been much examined. His gifts to English literature go unnoticed." Such a charge disserves scholars around the world, especially those working in the fifteen years since Hilton's first volume appeared. Indeed, it was in the early eighties that Ruskin studies began shifting away from the canonical art criticism towards the eclectic, open-ended works after 1860, the very writings on which Hilton stakes his claim for Ruskin's true greatness. Fors, in particular, has been eloquently elucidated by John Rosenberg and Paul Sawyer; the first book-length treatment, Judith Stoddart's Ruskin's Culture Wars, came out in 1998, while Dinah Birch recently published a selected edition. As the centenary of his death in 2000 neared, the nineties saw the development of the Ruskin Programme at Lancaster University, the opening of the splendid Ruskin Library there, the Library Edition becoming available on CD-ROM, and an accelerating international flood of exhibitions, conferences, articles, and books, including three other biographies. Nobody reads Ruskin? Ironically, Hilton's oddly hermetic and proprietary assumption devalues the significance of his own recuperative effort. The most complete modern life we are likely to have, this long-meditated project will find an already receptive existing audience, and should enlarge it as well. Kristine Ottesen Garrigan ______________ DePaul University New Biography on Moore Adrian Frazier. George Moore, 1852-1933. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000. 604 pp. $35.00. IT HAS BECOME A PLATITUDE to state that we live in the Great Age of Life-Writing. And indeed, we have been offered such a seemingly endless feast of outstanding literary biographies over the past few dec345 ELT 44 : 3 2001 ades that one can reach no other conclusion. The availability of fresh sources of material, sharpened techniques of research, and more inventive models of narration have enriched and enlivened this genre almost beyond measure and lifted to new levels of artistry what was once, for many of its practitioners, a pedestrian responsibility. The long-awaited arrival of this new treatment of George Moore, for example, some ten years in the process, adds to our awareness and appreciation of just how much dedication, focus, and ardent labor goes into the making of such a product—and just how much sustained delight one can derive from the long hours of reading such a book on such a fascinating life. As the dates in the title immediately remind us, GM lived into his eighties; and few authors of any stripe went through more distinct stages of transformation, of constantly "re-creating" himself, one may even say "fine-tuning" himself—and always against a background of incongruity and controversy, beginning with his abysmal performance as a schoolboy, "who from the start never measured up." His father's sudden death propelled the teen-aged lad from an Oedipal role into the quest he would pursue the rest of his days. As the oldest son and inheritor of the Moore Hall estates, he would live the life of an absentee Irish landlord, with the income and freedom to make himself into the artist he had dreamed of becoming. That task would occupy him for over sixty years. Announcing this outstanding scholarly achievement as "not a literary or critical biography" but a "new narrative of the life of George Moore, built up from the thousands of private letters and many manuscripts that have come to light since his death," Adrian Frazier, Professor of English at Union College, New York, modestly cautions us in his introduction to recognize that "this is only one...


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