Moore, Thomas Sturge (writer)

Reference: MS 165Date: 1937–1954Extent: 2 folders
Thomas Sturge Moore (4 Mar 1870–18 Jul 1944) was a British poet, playwright, author, critic and artist.

Born in Hastings, East Sussex to Daniel Moore and Henrietta Sturge, Moore was the elder brother of Bloomsbury philosopher G. E. Moore, and the uncle of the poet Nicholas Moore and the composer Timothy Moore. He also had prominent Quaker ties on his mother’s side, most notably that of Joseph Sturge (1793–1859), a Victorian abolitionist and philanthropist.

Moore was educated at Dulwich College from 1879 to 1884, but due to his ill health he fell behind and instead enrolled in the Croydon Art School, where he met the artist Charles Shannon. He then transferred to the Lambeth School of Art, where he became a pupil of Shannon’s partner, Charles Ricketts, who taught him wood engraving.

Shannon and Ricketts introduced Moore to their connections in the London art world as well as the Vale Press, a printing press that Ricketts had founded in 1894. Moore contributed to their endeavours by translating and editing various works including plays by William Shakespeare, as well as contributing to the press’ periodical, The Dial.

Taking his mother’s name to distinguish himself from the Irish poet Thomas Sturge, his first pamphlet Two Poems(1893) was printed privately, with his first book of verse, The Vinedresser and Other Poems published in 1899. After the latter caught the attention of the poet Laurence Binyon, Moore was then introduced to W. B. Yeats in the same year, with the two going on to form a lifelong friendship. Moore later designed book covers for Yeats, such as Responsibilities: and Other Poems, The Wild Swans at Coole, and Four Plays for Dancers.

Moore married his cousin Maria Appia in 1903, with their son Daniel born in 1905 and their daughter, Henriette, born in 1907. Around this time Moore was involved in several societies, including the Society of Twelve, a group of wood engravers and lithographers in 1904, the Royal Society of Literature in 1911, and the Poetry Society in 1912. Moore also helped to found the Literary Theatre Club, with his written plays including Aphrodite Against Artemis (1901), an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé (1906), A Sicilian Idyll and Judith: A Conflict (1911), Medea (1920), Tragic Mothers: Medea, Niobe, Tyrfing (1920), and Mystery and Tragedy: Two Dramatic Poems (1930).

Moore and his family moved from Hampstead, London to Hampshire in 1919, where he gave aesthetics classes to students at Bedales. He received a civil-list pension in 1920 in recognition for his contribution to literature, and published The Powers of the Air and a play, Medea, in the same year. The family later moved back to Hampstead in 1927, where they held poetry readings and other gatherings in an open house on Friday evenings.

Nominated in 1930 as one of seven candidates for the position of Poet Laureate, Moore’s poems were gathered and published in four volumes as The Poems of T. Sturge Moore (1931-1933), with Selected Poems following later in 1934. At the outbreak of the Second World War Moore moved to Dorking where he would produce his final publications. Moore died on 18 July 1944 after a long illness.

This collection consists mainly of correspondence; 41 letters and 19 postcards from Thomas Sturge Moore (1937-1943), 16 letters and 8 postcards from Marie Sturge Moore (1938-1947), to John Gawsworth [Terence Ian Fytton Armstrong]; envelopes; poems by Thomas Sturge Moore; poem by John Gawsworth; galley proofs of poems by Thomas Sturge Moore published in Fifty Years of Modern Verse edited by John Gawsworth; galley proofs of poems by Michael Field published in Fifty Years of Modern Verse with corrections by Thomas Sturge Moore; MS introductory speech by John Gawsworth to a lecture by Thomas Sturge Moore.

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