Olive Moore

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Constance Edith Vaughan (September 1904 – ca. 1970), better known by her pseudonym Olive Moore, was a modernist English writer best known for three well-esteemed novels: Celestial Seraglio (1929), Spleen (1930), and Fugue (1932), and for the acerbic essay collection The Apple Is Bitten Again (1934). She also produced an essay on D.H. Lawrence, entitled Further Reflections on the Death of a Porcupine, which was privately printed in 1933 and included in her essay collection. Her Collected Writings was published in 1992.


Born in Hereford, Moore was acquainted with the Bloomsbury literary circles in London during her prolific years, and with the poet Hugh McDiarmid and the radical London bookseller and publisher Charles Lahr.[1] She briefly worked for the Daily Sketch. In the early 1920s, she married the sculptor Sava Botzaris (1894-1965). Otherwise, little is known about her life, beyond a brief autobiographic sketch in 1933. Moore claimed to be working on a novel entitled Amazon and Hero: The Drama of the Greek War for Independence, which was never published. Due to her rapid disappearance from the London literary scene, the date and location of her death remain unknown, though she is believed to have died around 1970.[1]


Moore has been termed "a cross between Virginia Woolf and Djuna Barnes, but with a more biting wit."[2] Her novels make free use of modernist techniques such as stream of consciousness in their frank dealings with issues of sexuality and disability. Though considered a highly talented experimental writer, Moore's disappearance (and the rarity of published versions of her texts until the mid-1990s) has led to a relative critical neglect of her work, until recently.[3][4][5]


  1. ^ a b "About the Author," in Olive Moore, Spleen (1930; ed. 1996), pp. 129-33. Dalkey Archive Press, Normal, IL. ISBN 1-56478-148-8.
  2. ^ Laura Doan and Jane Garrity (2006), Sapphic Modernities: Sexuality, Women, and National Culture, p. 3. Palgrave, New York. ISBN 1-4039-6498-X.
  3. ^ Renée Dickinson (2009), Female Embodiment and Subjectivity in the Modernist Novel: The Corporeum of Virginia Woolf and Olive Moore, Routledge, London, ISBN 0-415-99383-0.
  4. ^ Jane Garrity (2003), Step-daughters of England: British Women Modernists and the National Imaginary, p. 68. Palgrave, New York. ISBN 0-7190-6163-6
  5. ^ Jane Garrity (2013), "Olive Moore’s Headless Woman," Modern Fiction Studies vol. 59, no. 2, pp. 288-316.