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The Untilled Field

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George Moore, an Irish writer involved with the Celtic Revival was influenced by the French Realists and particularly by the work of Émile Zola. Often considered as the first modern Irish novelist he became involved with Lady Gregory and William Butler Yeats in the establishment of the Irish Literary Theatre. As part of his involvement with the Literary Revival, he wrote a set of short stories set in Ireland, drawn from his experiences growing up on his family’s estates in Co. Mayo. The stories were intended to be translated into Irish as a part of a new tradition of Gaelic Literature.
The stories were later published in English as The Untilled Field, in 1903. Moore was initially influenced by Ivan Turgenyev’s collection of short stories, Tales of a Sportsman and in turn they are thought to have been an influence on James Joyce’s Dubliners collection. Moore’s stories look at Irish rural life at the end of the 19th Century and examines the role that the clergy played in the lives of those who remained after mass emigration denuded the Irish countryside. - Summary by Noel Badrian
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