Papers of Nicholas Moore

Scope and Content

4 signed TS poems by Moore; 5 letters and 10 postcards from Nicholas Moore to Ian Fletcher

Administrative / Biographical History

Nicholas Moore was born in 1918, the elder son of George Edward Moore (1873-1958) the Cambridge philosopher. Educated at the Dragon School Oxford and Leighton Park School, Reading, he spent a year at St Andrew's University, where he met G.S. Fraser, before going to Trinity College Cambridge. From his schooldays Moore wrote poetry every day and submitted it to various magazines. While at university he started his own magazine Seven and after graduation he continued to live in Cambridge while working in London for various publishers including Tambimuttu's Poetry London and Grey Walls Press.

In the 1940s Moore married Priscilla Craig and gained a growing reputation as a poet, publishing several books and receiving prizes for his work. However by the end of the decade he had suffered the loss of both reputation and personal happiness. Unable to make a living from his now unfashionable poetry he lived alone in a ground-floor maisonette in St Mary Cray, Kent and found work as a gardener. Although he became an expert in this field and wrote a book on The Tall Bearded Iris he found it difficult to make ends meet. He was also dogged by ill-health, suffered from a gangrened foot and in 1964 was found to have diabetes. His leg was amputated and Moore became confined to a wheelchair, but this misfortune had the result of allowing him time to write again.

Moore came to public notice again in 1968 when he sent thirty- one entries, under a large number of pseudonyms, to a Sunday Times Baudelaire translation competition. The poems were eventually published in 1973 under the title Spleen and Moore was championed by writers such as Anthony Rudolf and Peter Riley. Moore continued his solitary existence, writing poetry, listening to jazz and following cricket scores until his death in 1986. Several selections of his poems were published after his death although his literary reputation is still a matter for debate.

Access Information

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Acquisition Information

Gift of Ian Fletcher


This description was written by Gil Skidmore with reference to introductory material in Spleen written by Anthony Rudolf, Peter Riley and Nicholas Moore

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Related Material

Letters from Nicholas Moore can also be found in Reading University Library in the Hogarth Press archive [MS 2750/354] and the Macmillan Archive [MS 1087]