Iris Murdoch pp 167-178 | Cite as

Postscript: Reading Iris Murdoch

  • Bran J. Nicol


In Picturing the Human, her 2000 study of Murdoch’s philosophy, Maria Antonaccio comments that ‘[i]t is difficult to write about Murdoch without being drawn into her life and personality, rather than concentrating on the substance of her thought’ (Antonaccio 2000: v). This statement is a measure of the radical change that has recently taken place in ‘Murdoch studies’. Had Antonaccio been writing before the author’s well-documented illness and death instead of after, one might have expected her to say the exact opposite. For years Murdoch’s work had a curious, almost magical ability to ward off biographical readings. Little in the way of substantial biographical detail was readily available, due to Murdoch’s reluctance to speak about her life outside her work. The lack of information was complemented by her insistence in her literary theory that the serious author had a duty to ‘expel’ herself from her work. Why look for her if she was not likely to be there?


Fictional Character Literary Theory Artistic Production Fictional World Fictional Detective 
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  1. 1.
    John Bayley, Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch (1998), Iris and the Friends: A Year of Memories (1999), The Widowers House (2002); Peter J. Conradi, Iris Murdoch: A Life (London: Harper Collins 2001); A. N. Wilson, Iris Murdoch: As I Knew Her (London: Hutchison 2003).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Martin Amis, ‘Age Will Win’, The Guardian, 21 December 2001.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Bran J. Nicol 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bran J. Nicol
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PortsmouthUK

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