Read a letter from Iris Murdoch from Living on Paper

It is hard for us to imagine Iris Murdoch submitting her first novel – and not even having a title for it – but here, you can read the letter that accompanied the manuscript of Under The Net

To Norah Smallwood.
St Anne’s College 23 November 1953

Dear Mrs Smallwood,

This is just to say that I shall try to send back the typescript of the novel on Wednesday or Thursday of this week. Unless otherwise instructed, I’ll address it to you. You may feel, when you see it, that I’ve spent a long time doing very little. I’ve simply made cuts and minor amendments which didn’t involve creating anything new. Your objections to the opening chapter and the studio chapter I’m afraid haven’t been met. Quite apart from a total lack of time, I feel unclear about what to do with these bits; and conclude that it must sink or swim as it is, subject to your final approval! I hope you won’t think this is uncooperative. I think and hope I’ve done what you wanted on the other points. I’m very grateful indeed for the detailed and useful scrutiny which you gave to the novel.

I’m still stuck for a title. I’ll send my current ideas on the subject either with the typescript, or immediately after. Sorry to be slow-moving. I hope you are very well, and not overworked just before the ordeal of Christmas! I am homesick for London.

With good wishes,

Yours sincerely,

Iris Murdoch

Living on Paper

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