EDITED BY AVRIL HORNER AND ANNE ROWE
‘Destroy this and all letters. And keep your mouth shut’
This collection of Iris Murdoch’s most interesting and revealing letters gives us a living portrait of one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers and thinkers. The letters show a great mind at work – we see the young Murdoch grappling with philosophical questions, as well as feeling her anguish when a novel obstinately refuses to come together.
They uncover Murdoch’s famed personal life, the subject of much speculation, in all its intriguing complexity, and her penchant for living beyond the bounds of social acceptability. We also begin to see the 'real life material' that fed into her fiction, despite her claims that her fiction never drew on reality. Above all we see the accumulation of life – intimate, irreverent, fiercely engaged with the world – in this extraordinary collection of letters.
Reading these letters is like living Murdoch's whole creatively, sexually and intellectually voracious life alongside her, and at breakneck speed. Thrilling
The letters themselves have been selected with conviction and care...the overwhelming sense of this volume is one of richness
Her mind, here as in everything she wrote, is formidable
With a bank holiday approaching and no open pubs in sight, Rob Crossan rounds up the finest literary ones to indulge in, instead.
Funny, subversive, fearless and fiercely intelligent, Iris Murdoch was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. To celebrate the centenary of her birth, here's our guide to help you pick which Murdoch book to read first – or last!