Sunday, May 16, 2010

Iris Murdoch: Letters and Diaries, 1939-1945 edited and introduced by Peter J. Conradi

After reading Conradi’s exquisite and thoroughly documented biography of Iris Murdoch, I thought I would have little to learn about one of my all time favorite novelists. But these insights -- directly from the pen of Murdoch herself -- reveal much more about her. Even with Conradi’s superb effort, these journals and letters reveal inside information about Iris’ life, loves, relationships, and early life. I hope this is the first in a long series from Conradi.

This volume from England -- not yet published in the US -- will appeal to devotees of Iris and should be must-reading for all serious students of her work.

If you have never read Iris Murdoch, you are missing out on one of the great novelists of the 20th century. She wrote 26 novels as well as a handful of plays, poetry, criticism, and philosophy. Murdoch is truly one of the most outstanding women of letters in the history of British literature. She ranks with Pope and only a smidgen below Dr. Samuel Johnson in my estimation. Start with her Booker Prize winner The Sea, the Sea, or The Bell, or, as I did, The Book and the Brotherhood. I am about half way through her novels, and this has inspired me to read A Severed Head next. 5 stars

--Chiron, 5/16/10

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