Originally published in 1984, Iris Murdoch, widely regarded as one of the major British novelists of her generation at the time, was undoubtedly one of the most popular and prolific, having published twenty-one novels since 1954 (she went on to write many more). But the course of her fiction-writing career was regarded with unease by some of her readers in that it seemed marked by an increasing conservatism of approach which could not have been foreseen in her earliest published fiction. She was acknowledged as one of Britain’s leading moral philosophers and although this study is careful to respect the distinctive integrity of her fiction-writing and her philosophy, it none the less assumes her active presence in contemporary debate as one of the most powerful and original theorists of fiction writing at the time. In this study, Richard Todd systematically, but discriminatingly, surveys all her fiction to date, and attempts to show how her fundamental theme, the interplay between the roles of artist and saint, is developed and expressed in her fiction.
Table of Contents
General Editor’s Preface. Acknowledgements. A Note on the Texts. 1. Introduction 2. Under the Net to The Bell 3. A Severed Head to The Time of the Angels 4. The Nice and the Good to A Word Child 5. Henry and Cato to The Philosopher’s Pupil. Notes. Bibliography.