Freethought of the Day

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There are 2 entries for this date: Joseph Conrad and Julianne Moore
Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad

On this date in 1857, author Joseph Conrad, né Teodor Jozef Konrad Korzeniowski, was born in Russian-occupied Poland. His father, a writer and poet, was exiled with his family to Russia for working for Polish independence. His mother died of tuberculosis in 1865,and his father of the same disease in 1869. The teenager went to live with his uncle until signing up as a seaman in the French merchant navy at age 17.

His many adventures included gun-running. He eventually spent 16 years in the British merchant navy and saw Australia, Malaysia, South America, the Congo and the South Pacific. His eastern travels later became favorite settings for his novels. Conrad became a naturalized British citizen in 1884 and settled down at age 36 to write. Although English was his third language, he wrote in that tongue to great acclaim. His first novel, Almayer's Folly, set in Malaysia, came out in 1895, followed by Lord Jim (1900), the novella Heart of Darkness (1902), Nostromo (1904), The Secret Agent (1907) and many other books.

In her review of Jeffrey Meyers' biography of Conrad, Joyce Carol Oates wrote, "Though he was born Roman Catholic, Conrad acknowledged no religion and wrote of the supernatural only as superstition. ... His masters were Flaubert, Turgenev and Henry James." ("The Man Who Detested the Sea," New York Times, April 14, 1991.) Conrad himself wrote, in a Dec. 22, 1902, letter to Edward Garnett, "I always, from the age of fourteen, disliked the Christian religion, its doctrines, ceremonies and festivals." (The Conradian, the Journal of the Joseph Conrad Society, 2005.)

Conrad at age 39 in 1896 married Jessie George, a working-class Englishwoman 16 years his junior. They had two sons, Borys and John. Conrad died at home in 1924 of an apparent heart attack. Jessie, who had grown to be morbidly obese during their marriage, died 12 years later and was interred with him.

“The ethical view of the universe involves us at last in so many cruel and absurd contradictions, where the last vestiges of faith, hope, charity, and even of reason itself, seem ready to perish, that I have come to suspect that the aim of creation cannot be ethical at all.”

—Conrad, "A Personal Record" (1912)

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore

On this date in 1960, actress Julianne Moore was born in Fayetteville, N.C. Her mother was a Scottish social worker and her father a military judge. She traveled around the world with her parents, graduating from Frankfurt American High School in Germany in 1979. Julianne earned her bachelor of fine arts degree from the School of the Performing Arts in Boston University in 1983.

After appearing in theater, TV soaps, miniseries and TV movies, she caught directors' eyes when appearing in supporting roles in several movies, including "The Fugitive" (1993). Her breakthrough role was in "Safe" (1995), followed by movies such as "Nine Months" (1995), "Assassins" (1995), "Surviving Picasso" (1996), playing Dora Maar, "Boogie Nights" (1997), "The Big Lebowski" (1998), "An Ideal Husband" (1999), "Magnolia" (1999), "End of the Affair" (1999), "Evolution" (2001), "The Hours" (2002), "Far From Heaven" (2002), "The Kids Are All Right" (2010) and "Crazy, Stupid, Love" (2011).

Moore went on to give an Academy Award-winning Best Actress performance in 2014 as an Alzheimer's patient in "Still Alice" and was named Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for "Maps to the Stars," also in 2014. She also appeared in the final two films of "The Hunger Games" series and starred in the spy film "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" (2017). She is a pro-choice advocate who is active with Planned Parenthood.

She married actor and stage director John Gould Rubin in 1986, and after a 1995 divorce started a relationship in 1996 with Bart Freundlich, her director on "The Myth of Fingerprints." They have a son, Caleb, born in 1997, and a daughter, Liv, born in 2002. Moore and Freundlich married in August 2003.

Moore at the Venice Film Festival premiere of "A Single Man" in 2009; Nicolas Genin photo under CC 2.0.

"She says she doesn't believe in God and has a strong sense that meaning is imposed on a chaotic world. 'I learned when my mother died five years ago that there is no there there.' "

—Interview, "Julianne Moore Believes in Therapy, Not God," The Hollywood Reporter (Jan. 28, 2015)

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

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