Iris Murdoch

Standard Name: Murdoch, Iris
Birth Name: Jean Iris Murdoch
Married Name: Jean Iris Bailey
IM , active from the second world war till almost the end of the twentieth century, was best known as a philosophical novelist with a wild sense of comedy. Her twenty-six novels foreground philosophic issues similar to those discussed in her well-regarded academic publications. She contributed to many periodicals, and wrote plays for stage and radio, an opera libretto, and poetry.
Black-and-white photo of Iris Murdoch in May 1963. Looking intently, off-camera, she is wearing a black blazer with a striped shirt underneath            and has short hair.
"Iris Murdoch" by Evening Standard/Stringer, 1963-05-14. Retrieved from This image is licensed under the GETTY IMAGES CONTENT LICENCE AGREEMENT.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Dedications Brigid Brophy
It was still in print in 1988.
Waterstone’s Guide to Books. Waterstone and Company, 1988.
BB dedicated it to Iris Murdoch and inscribed a copy to her with a jokey, suggestive inscription.
Conradi, Peter J. Iris Murdoch. A Life. HarperCollins, 2002.
Family and Intimate relationships Bernice Rubens
Peter Conradi (biographer of Iris Murdoch ) writes that BR had an affair with an American, Allan Forbes (partly influenced by the philosopher and family friend Elias Canetti , who arranged for her and Forbes...
Family and Intimate relationships Ann Bridge
In 1928 Owen O'Malley , with other members of the foreign service, was accused of speculating in francs: what became known as the francs case. His Times obituary suggested that he would have been...
Family and Intimate relationships Maureen Duffy
MD was living with a female partner when in summer 1967 her fellow-novelist Brigid Brophy fell in love with her. A former lover, Iris Murdoch , magnanimously hoped that this relationship would prove something stable...
Friends, Associates Barbara Pym
In Oxford, BP made the acquaintance of Iris Murdoch , whose writing she admired greatly.
Pym, Barbara. A Very Private Eye. Holt, Hazel and Hilary PymEditors , Macmillan, 1984.
Friends, Associates A. S. Byatt
Iris Murdoch became a friend of ASB by 1968 and an important friend by May 1970. When Byatt was bereaved, Murdoch broke her engagements to be with her.
Conradi, Peter J. Iris Murdoch. A Life. HarperCollins, 2002.
518-19 and n106
Having been a teaching...
Friends, Associates Harriet Shaw Weaver
Working in the left-wing bookshop early in her time at Oxford, HSW became acquainted with Iris Murdoch , who was then an undergraduate at Somerville College and who frequented the shop. Weaver was finishing...
Friends, Associates Elizabeth Bowen
Frequent guests at Bowen's Court (where, says Victoria Glendinning, they ate and drank royally)
Glendinning, Victoria. Elizabeth Bowen. Alfred A. Knopf, 1978.
included William Plomer , Sean O'Faolain , and Cyril Connolly . Virginia Woolf stayed there once; Iris Murdoch also...
Friends, Associates Penelope Lively
PL 's Oxford circle included the young, still unmarried John Bayley and Iris Murdoch .
Friends, Associates Olivia Manning
OM 's friends included a number of fellow-writers: William Gerhardi , Ivy Compton-Burnett (whom she had first met before the war, at a party given by Rose Macaulay , and whose work she deeply admired),...
Friends, Associates Brigid Brophy
BB 's close friends included writers Elizabeth Jane Howard , Shena Mackay , and Iris Murdoch , whom she met at Cheltenham in summer 1955. Murdoch's letters to Brophy reveal the depth and many-sidedness of...
Friends, Associates Flannery O'Connor
In 1955 the publication of A Good Man is Hard to Find made a new friend for FOC . Betty Hester worked as a clerk and was like her in being a brainy, independent-minded, unmarried...
Instructor Jennifer Dawson
Sent to study political theory for one term with Iris Murdoch , she spent a whole year studying philosophy under her tuition. She later wrote that Murdoch showed me the springs to drink from.
Dawson, Jennifer. “Impressions of Iris Murdoch, Teacher, in 1951”. The Ship, pp. 52 - 3.
Intertextuality and Influence Simone de Beauvoir
SB 's many honours during her lifetime included the Sonning Prize for European Culture in 1983, and an honorary doctorate from Cambridge University . There is a Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University in...
Intertextuality and Influence Julian of Norwich
T. S. Eliot used Julian's words and concepts for the final lines of Little Gidding. Iris Murdoch claimed her as an influence. She is the subject of a video by Films for the Humanities and Sciences


The Royal Society of Literature received its charter; it had been founded several years previously.
26 July 1945
The postwar general election put the Labour Party in power with a landslide victory. Clement Attlee became Prime Minister; prominent in his Cabinet were Herbert Morrison , Ernest Bevin , Hugh Dalton , and Sir...