|Birth Day:||July 15, 1919|
|Death Date:||Feb 8, 1999 (age 79)|
|Birth Place:||Dublin, Ireland|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Iris Murdoch died on Feb 8, 1999 (age 79).
She studied philosophy at Oxford and Cambridge. She published her debut novel, Under the Net, in 1954.
Murdoch was educated in progressive independent schools, entering the Froebel Demonstration School in 1925 and attending Badminton School in Bristol as a boarder from 1932 to 1938. In 1938 she went up to Somerville College, Oxford, with the intention of studying English, but switched to "Greats", a course of study combining classics, ancient history, and philosophy. At Oxford she studied philosophy with Donald M. MacKinnon and attended Eduard Fraenkel's seminars on Agamemnon. She was awarded a first-class honours degree in 1942. After leaving Oxford she went to work in London for HM Treasury. In June 1944 she left the Treasury and went to work for the UNRRA. At first she was stationed in London at the agency's European Regional Office. In 1945 she was transferred first to Brussels, then to Innsbruck, and finally to Graz, Austria, where she worked in a refugee camp. She left the UNRRA in 1946.
Murdoch won a scholarship to study at Vassar College in 1946, but was refused a visa to enter the United States because she had joined the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1938, while a student at Oxford. She left the party in 1942, when she went to work at the Treasury, but remained sympathetic to communism for several years. In later years she was allowed to visit the United States, but always had to obtain a waiver from the provisions of the McCarran Act, which barred Communist Party members and former members from entering the country. In a 1990 Paris Review interview she said that her membership of the Communist Party had made her see "how strong and how awful it [Marxism] is, certainly in its organized form".
From 1947 to 1948 Iris Murdoch studied philosophy as a postgraduate at Newnham College, Cambridge. She met Wittgenstein at Cambridge but did not hear him lecture, as he had left his Trinity College professorship before she arrived. In 1948 she became a fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford, where she taught philosophy until 1963. From 1963 to 1967 she taught one day a week in the General Studies department at the Royal College of Art.
Iris Murdoch's first novel, Under the Net, was published in 1954. She had previously published essays on philosophy, and the first monograph about Jean-Paul Sartre published in English. She went on to produce 25 more novels and additional works of philosophy, as well as poetry and drama. In 1976 she was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and in 1987 was made a Dame Commander of Order of the British Empire. She was awarded honorary degrees by the University of Bath (DLitt,1983), University of Cambridge (1993) and Kingston University (1994), among others. She was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1982.
In 1956 Murdoch married John Bayley, a literary critic, novelist, and from 1974 to 1992 Warton Professor of English at Oxford University, whom she had met in Oxford in 1954. The unusual romantic partnership lasted more than forty years until Murdoch's death. Bayley thought that sex was "inescapably ridiculous." Murdoch in contrast had "multiple affairs with both men and women which, on discomposing occasions, [Bayley] witnessed for himself".
David Morgan met Iris Murdoch in 1964, when he was a student at the Royal College of Art. His 2010 memoir With Love and Rage: A Friendship with Iris Murdoch, describes their lifelong friendship.
Murdoch was awarded the Booker Prize in 1978 for The Sea, the Sea, a finely detailed novel about the power of love and loss, featuring a retired stage director who is overwhelmed by jealousy when he meets his erstwhile lover after several decades apart. An authorised collection of her poetic writings, Poems by Iris Murdoch, appeared in 1997, edited by Paul Hullah and Yozo Muroya. Several of her works have been adapted for the screen, including the British television series of her novels An Unofficial Rose and The Bell. J. B. Priestley's dramatisation of her 1961 novel A Severed Head starred Ian Holm and Richard Attenborough.
Aside from her Communist Party membership, her Irish heritage is the other sensitive aspect of Murdoch's political life that seems to attract interest. Part of the interest revolves around the fact that, although Irish by both birth and traced descent on both sides, Murdoch did not display the full set of political opinions that are sometimes assumed to go with this origin: "No one ever agrees about who is entitled to lay claim to Irishness. Iris's Belfast cousins today call themselves British, not Irish... [but] with both parents brought up in Ireland, and an ancestry within Ireland both North and South going back three centuries, Iris has as valid a claim to call herself Irish as most North Americans have to call themselves American". Conradi notes A.N. Wilson's record that Murdoch regretted the sympathetic portrayal of the Irish nationalist cause she had given earlier in The Red and the Green, and a competing defence of the book at Caen in 1978. The novel, while broad of sympathy, is hardly an unambiguous celebration of the 1916 rising, dwelling upon bloodshed, unintended consequences and the evils of romanticism, besides celebrating selfless individuals on both sides. Later, of Ian Paisley, Iris Murdoch stated "[he] sincerely condemns violence and did not intend to incite the Protestant terrorists. That he is emotional and angry is not surprising, after 12–15 years of murderous IRA activity. All this business is deep in my soul, I'm afraid." In private correspondence with her close friend and fellow philosopher Philippa Foot, she remarked in 1978 that she felt "unsentimental about Ireland to the point of hatred" and, of a Franco-Irish conference she had attended in Caen in 1982, said that "the sounds of all those Irish voices made me feel privately sick".
Literary critics and theorists have given her mixed reviews. Harold Bloom wrote in his 1986 review of The Good Apprentice that 'no other contemporary British novelist' seemed of her 'eminence'. A. S. Byatt called her 'a great philosophical novelist'. James Wood wrote in How Fiction Works: 'In her literary and philosophical criticism, she again and again stresses that the creation of free and independent characters is the mark of a great novelist; yet her own characters never have this freedom.' He stressed that some authors, 'like Tolstoy, Trollope, Balzac and Dickens', wrote about people different from themselves by choice, whereas others, such as 'James, Flaubert, Lawrence, Woolf', have more interest in the self. Wood called Murdoch 'poignant', because she spent her whole life in writing in the latter category, whilst she struggled to fit herself into the former. In an assessment of her Booker Prize winning novel The Sea, the Sea, Sam Jordison, creator of the poll Crap Towns, declared that the book contained 'scenes of absurd melodrama' and 'mystical bollocks'. He did, however, praise Murdoch's comic set-pieces, and her portrayal of self-deceit.
Her last novel, Jackson's Dilemma, was published in 1995. Iris Murdoch was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1997 and died in 1999 in Oxford. There is a bench dedicated to her in the grounds of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she used to enjoy walking.
In 1997, she was awarded the Golden PEN Award by English PEN for "a Lifetime's Distinguished Service to Literature".
John Bayley wrote two memoirs of his life with Iris Murdoch. Iris: A Memoir was published in the United Kingdom in 1998, shortly before her death. The American edition, which was published in 1999, was called Elegy for Iris. A sequel entitled Iris and the Friends was published in 1999, after her death. Murdoch was portrayed by Kate Winslet and Judi Dench in Richard Eyre's film Iris (2001), based on Bayley's memories of his wife as she developed Alzheimer's disease.
An account of Murdoch's life with a different ambition is given by A. N. Wilson in his 2003 book Iris Murdoch as I Knew Her. The work was described by Galen Strawson in The Guardian as "mischievously revelatory" and labelled by Wilson himself as an "anti-biography". Wilson eschews objectivity, but is careful to stress his affection for his subject. Wilson remarks that Murdoch "had clearly been one of those delightful young women... who was prepared to go to bed with almost anyone". While Murdoch's thought is an inspiration for Conradi, Wilson treats Murdoch's philosophical work as at best a distraction.
BBC Radio 4 broadcast in 2015 an "Iris Murdoch season" with several memoirs by people who knew her, and dramatisations of her novels.:
In March 2019, it was announced that the London-based award-winning production company Rebel Republic Films, led by director Garo Berberian, has optioned the book and is currently developing a screenplay based on The Italian Girl.
Iris was born in Dublin to a civil servant father and a singer mother. Iris married John Bayley in 1956.
Currently, Iris Murdoch is 103 years, 4 months and 19 days old. Iris Murdoch will celebrate 104th birthday on a Saturday 15th of July 2023. Below we countdown to Iris Murdoch upcoming birthday.
Happy birthday, Iris Murdoch! A few words from her about happiness…
The Book Haven: Cynthia Haven's Blog for the Written Word