Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, April 27, 2012

George Moore Two More Stories from The Untilled Field

The Irish Quarter-March 11 to July 1
A Celebration of the Irish Short Story

A Few Days with George Moore
"The Exile" and "Julia Cahill's Curse"

Please consider joining us for The Irish Quarter,  Year Two.   Everything you need to participate is in the resources page, including links to 1000s of short stories, from brand new ones to stories now in the public domain.   Guests posts are also welcome.

I have decided to change the name of this event from Irish Short Story Week to The Irish Quarter.   A lot of the stories have been about emigration and most emigrants first lived in an Irish Quarter, whether they landed in Boston or Buenos Aries.  The event is also about a quarter of a year long.  Also calling it Irish Short Story Week as causing some potential participants to feel they did not have time to join us.  I thank Suko for her feedback on this name change.  

"Julia Cahill's Curse" (1903, 32 pages) is a great story.   Frank O'Connor said "Homesickness" was a perfect work of art.  William Trevor said "Alfred Nobbs" was a master work.  I am not going to say they are wrong, because of course they are not and who am I to say such a thing anyway but "Julia Cahill's Curse" is to me a better work of art than "Homesickness", a better story than "Alfred Nobbs" and has a tremendous amount to teach us about Ireland.   It also does show very clearly why Moore did not like Catholic Priests all that much!.   When I first began to read the stories of George Moore it was sort of in the spirit of OK here are some historically important short stories so let us read them.   It is a very Irish story but it could be retold in many other periods and places and be just as powerful. It also goes deep into the heart of Irish folk ways and beliefs and lets us see how these interact with  the Catholic faith   Just like here in the Philippines we have a very devoted to the Catholic faith population who also believes firmly in lots of ideas from older cultures (of course Catholicism is not as old here as it is in Ireland) so the same can be said of Ireland.  The basic plot of the story is not hard to follow.   There is a priest who wants everyone to be totally obedient to the church and its doctrines.    Frank O'Connor said that one of the underlying causes of the massive emigration from Ireland, besides the famines, was a desire to escape from the rule of the priests.  Julia Cahill is a young woman  who is so beautiful as to take the breath away and full of the joy of life and not afraid to argue with the priest when he tells her she must marry so as not to be a distraction in the community.   I hope at least a few people will read this story so I am going to stop telling the plot here.  The ending was very open and just a marvel.   It is a very sad cruel ending but still it is wonderful and let me in awe of Moore.  

"The Exile" is also a very good story and it  also centers on the trouble caused by priests, who seem to love to cause petty misery in the lives of the people they are supposed to look after in order to make up for the emptiness of their own lives.   It is also about how marriages come about.  The priest was very opposed to the idea of young people arranging their own marriages and when ever he saw a young couple "walking the road" together he at once condemned them and reported them to their parents.  It is also a another story about emigration and those left behind.

You can download for free The Untilled Field from Manybooks

I will be doing three or four more posts on George Moore soon.  I will talk a bit more about his life and career then.

Mel u

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