Iris Murdoch

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Murdoch, Iris


Born July 15, 1919, in Dublin. English writer.

Iris Murdoch was born into an Anglo-Irish family. She studied classical philology at Oxford University (1938–42) and philosophy at Cambridge (1947–48). She is a lecturer in philosophy at Oxford University.

In her early scholarly and literary works, Murdoch was a follower of existentialism, for example, her Sartre: Romantic Rationalist (1953). Murdoch’s novel Under the Net (1954; Russian translation, 1966) humorously and sympathetically depicts the searchers for truth among the intelligentsia of the London artistic world. The novel A Severed Head (1961; dramatization, 1963) ironically depicts the world of the affluent bourgeoisie and satirizes the fad for psychoanalysis.

While she is capable of portraying life in all its complexity— in such works as The Bell (1958) and Bruno’s Dream (1969)— Murdoch sometimes falls victim to her own plots and forced symbolism, as in The Unicorn (1963). The subject of The Red and the Green (1965; Russian translation, 1968) is the Irish Rebellion of 1916, which provides the framework for the growth and importance of the novel’s main characters. Despite the exactness of her ethical criteria, Murdoch avoids unambiguous evaluations.

In her works on aesthetic philosophy, including “Against Dryness”(1961), Murdoch regards the shortcoming of the 20th-century novel as a penchant for either dry allegory or diffuse documentary presentation and calls for a return to the realistic hero of the 19th century.


The Flight From the Enchanter. London, 1956.
The Sandcastle. London, 1957.
The Nice and the Good. London, 1968.
An Accidental Man. London, 1971.
The Black Prince. London, 1972.
In Russian translation:
Dikaia roza. Afterword by D. P. Shestakov. Moscow, 1971.


Ivasheva, V. V. Angliiskie dialogi. Moscow, 1971.
Byatt, A. S. Degrees of Freedom. London, 1965.
Rabinovitz, R. Iris Murdoch. New York-London, 1968.


References in periodicals archive ?
In The Unicorn Iris Murdoch successfully enriches the traditional features of Gothic fiction with Irish overtones.
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From a Tiny Corner in the House of Fiction: Conversations with Iris Murdoch.
I stir it and stare into it, thinking of Iris Murdoch and the writing of novels.
Iris Murdoch thought that "the Christ 'lie' about the conquest of death by Jesus" was deeply vulgar, and in saying that she gave voice to what many moderns think or feel.
The push-pull between domination and need, affection and competition, work and love is inevitably, marvelously fluid and complex in a way that the Iris Murdoch biopic brilliantly captured without undercutting its fundamental, tragic through line.
The names of the relevant thinkers, followed by very brief assessments of their value to the project, literally frame the book's central chapters: Jacques Lacan and Emmanuel Levinas, together with philosophically suggestive novels of Salman Rushdie and Iris Murdoch.
THE British novelist Iris Murdoch is, undoubtedly, one of the most prolific mythopoetic writers of the twentieth century.
Dame Judi, who played Alzheimer's sufferer Iris Murdoch in last year's hit movie Iris, will open the pounds 2.
James, Walter Mosley, Ruth Rendell, who is an English writer, Iris Murdoch, and of course Toni Morrison, who is a longtime favorite of mine.
Thus Lil' Kim, contriving to look forbidding in a platinum wig and ruffled pink bikini top, is clearly a "pinup"; Iris Murdoch, hunched at her desk in a Hemingway-esque cloud of cigarette smoke, is just as obviously a "genius.
The star has been nominated in the Best Actress category for her part as the elder Iris Murdoch in Iris, the same role which won her a Bafta award this week.