Iris Murdoch

(1919 - 1999)

Iris Murdoch began teaching philosophy at Oxford in 1948, published her first novel in 1954, and won the Booker Prize for The Sea, The Sea in 1978. Murdoch reportedly wrote her twenty-six novels longhand, using a Mont Blanc fountain pen. After expressing an early interest in archaeology and painting, Murdoch turned toward philosophy, particularly the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose theories informed her first novel, Under the Net. “We live in a fantasy world,” Murdoch once said, “and the great task in life is to find reality." Her struggles with Alzheimer’s during the last years of her life she described as “sailing into darkness.”

All Writing

Some memories are like lucky charms, talismans, one shouldn’t tell about them or they’ll lose their power.

—Iris Murdoch, 1985

One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.

—Iris Murdoch, 1978

Issues Contributed