George Augustus Moore

On this date in 1852, novelist George Augustus Moore was born into a Catholic family in Ballyglass, County Mayo, Ireland. He was educated at a Catholic college but jettisoned his faith in Paris, where he went at 18 to study art, as described in Flowers of Passion (1877). His 1883 novel A Modern Lover was barred by some libraries. In The Apostle, he depicted Paul murdering Jesus after finding him alive many years after his alleged “resurrection.”

Esther Waters (1894) is about a nun who gives birth to a son. In Brook Kerith (1916), what freethought historian Joseph McCabe called “his beautiful rationalized version of the life of Christ,” Moore described Jesus as an Essenian monk, for which the Catholic Church attempted to prosecute him. In 1903, after a disagreement with his brother Maurice over the religious upbringing of his nephews, Moore declared himself to be Protestant. His conversion was announced in a letter to the Irish Times newspaper, according to biographer Adrian Frazier in George Moore, 1852-1933 (2000).

His last novel, Aphrodite in Aulis, was published in 1930. His autobiography Hail and Farewell was published in three volumes, 1911-14. Moore’s nonfiction includes Reminiscences of the Impressionist Painters (1906). His Collected Works (1924) has 21 volumes. D. 1933.

Freedom From Religion Foundation