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The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century$
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Rachel Cowgill and Hilary Poriss

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195365870

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195365870.001.0001

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Artistic Experiment and the Reevaluation of the Prima Donna in George Moore’s Evelyn Innes

Artistic Experiment and the Reevaluation of the Prima Donna in George Moore’s Evelyn Innes

Chapter:
(p.147) Chapter 8 Artistic Experiment and the Reevaluation of the Prima Donna in George Moore’s Evelyn Innes
Source:
The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century
Author(s):

Grace Kehler

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195365870.003.0009

This chapter explores George Moore’s Evelyn Innes (1898). Through extended treatment of his troubled heroine—a dutiful daughter turned internationally acclaimed operatic soprano—Moore seems to reinscribe Victorian gender stereotypes: though he celebrates her female artistry, he pathologizes her fluid subjectivity as symptomatic of hysteria, allowing male authority figures to subjugate her into silence. Of the characters Evelyn embodies either on- or offstage, Kundry, the role she never performs publicly, remains the most significant in the book. This chapter’s perspective on the novel is potentially recuperative: it cites Darwin’s construction of nature and the individual in a constant state of flux, alongside Wagner’s aspirations for a psychologically imbued aesthetic, to contextualize and emphasize Moore’s deliberate deployment of the prima donna as a site for literary experimentation—specifically, the first example of stream-of-consciousness prose by a British writer.

Keywords:   George Moore, Evelyn Innes, gender, stereotypes, hysteria, Kundry, Wagner, Darwin

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