Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Favorite Author: Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch (1919 - 1999) was an Irish-born author best known for her complex but entertaining philosophical novels.  Dame Iris, as she was known since she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1987, won the Booker, Black, and Whitbread (now Costa) prizes; had one book on the Modern Library's list of Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century; and also wrote poetry, plays, and books of philosophy.

I am working my way through her novels, which are listed below in publication order.  Those I have read are in red; those on my TBR shelf are in blue.

Under the Net (1954) (Modern Library's Top 100 list)

The Flight from the Enchanter (1956)

Sandcastle (1957)

The Bell (1958)

A Severed Head (1961)

An Unofficial Rose (1962)

The Unicorn (1963)

The Italian Girl (1964)

The Red and the Green (1965)

The Time of the Angels (1966)

The Nice and the Good (1968)

Bruno's Dream (1969)

A Fairly Honourable Defeat (1970)

An Accidental Man (1971)

The Black Prince (1973) (James Tait Black winner)

The Sacred and Profane Love Machine (1974) (Whitbread, now Costa, winner)

A Word Child (1975)

Henry and Cato (1976)

The Sea, the Sea (1978) (Booker winner; reviewed here)

Nuns and Soldiers (1980)

The Philosopher's Pupil (1983)

The Good Apprentice (1985)

The Book and the Brotherhood (1987) (reviewed here)

The Message to the Planet (1989)

The Green Knight (1993)

Jackson's Dilemma (1995)


Check out the Iris Murdoch Research Centre website, the hub of information about Iris Murdoch.

Please feel free to leave comments with links to your Murdoch-related posts and I will list them here. 


The Sea, the Sea is my favorite so far.  It is a remarkable novel and really, really wonderful. I also loved The Bell.

A Fairly Honourable Defeat was also very good, and sticks in my head all the more now that I read Claire Massoud's The Emperor's Children, which I think was a rip-off of Murdoch's earlier book.

Updated March 17, 2020.

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