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Living on Paper von Iris Murdoch

Living on Paper Iris Murdoch

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Originally published: London: Chatto & Windus, an imprint of Vintage, 2015.

Living on Paper Zusammenfassung

Living on Paper: Letters from Iris Murdoch, 1934-1995 Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch was an acclaimed novelist and groundbreaking philosopher whose life reflected her unconventional beliefs and values. But what has been missing from biographical accounts has been Murdoch's own voice--her life in her own words. Living on Paper--the first major collection of Murdoch's most compelling and interesting personal letters--gives, for the first time, a rounded self-portrait of one of the twentieth century's greatest writers and thinkers. With more than 760 letters, fewer than forty of which have been published before, the book provides a unique chronicle of Murdoch's life from her days as a schoolgirl to her last years. The result is the most important book about Murdoch in more than a decade. The letters show a great mind at work--struggling with philosophical problems, trying to bring a difficult novel together, exploring spirituality, and responding pointedly to world events. They also reveal her personal life, the subject of much speculation, in all its complexity, especially in letters to lovers or close friends, such as the writers Brigid Brophy, Elias Canetti, and Raymond Queneau, philosophers Michael Oakeshott and Philippa Foot, and mathematician Georg Kreisel. We witness Murdoch's emotional hunger, her tendency to live on the edge of what was socially acceptable, and her irreverence and sharp sense of humor. We also learn how her private life fed into the plots and characters of her novels, despite her claims that they were not drawn from reality. Direct and intimate, these letters bring us closer than ever before to Iris Murdoch as a person, making for an extraordinary reading experience.

Living on Paper Bewertungen

"Murdoch belonged to a generation and class for whom the handwritten letter was as necessary as breathing... Although Murdoch destroyed many of her letters and journals and may well have instructed her correspondents to do the same, a mountain survives. The selection Horner and Rowe have made offers insight into many corners of her life and work."--John Sutherland, New York Times Book Review "Spanning six decades, and encompassing dozens of recipients, this collection of [Murdoch's] letters provides a lens through which to view many events in her life... The letters touch on many weighty intellectual topics, and they are equally remarkable for their candor... [E]ngrossing and frequently moving."--Publishers Weekly "Perhaps the best thing about Living on Paper is the portrait of Murdoch that emerges."--Becca Rothfeld, The Nation "An intimate view of the prolific British novelist and philosopher... With their deep knowledge of Murdoch's life and work, the editors have produced an authoritative, readable, and informative volume that contextualizes the writer's vibrant, intense, and sometimes slyly witty correspondence... An impressively edited, sharply revealing life in letters."--Kirkus, starred review "[A]n unprecedented exposure of the heart and mind of a major novelist and thinker (the author of 26 novels and three major works of philosophy) and a woman who lived a life of unusual intellectual and personal freedom."--Ann Chisholm, Prospect "[A] compulsively readable volume."--Daniel Johnson, Standpoint "[A] treasure trove... Living on Paper is presented in chronological sections, each helpfully introduced by Rowe and Horner, who set the scene for Murdoch's life at that time; her writing, her passions, her whereabouts. The letters are fervent, philosophical, frenetic and witty; they suggest sources, from her own life, for the varied portraits of obsessive desire in her novels."--Rivka Isaacson, The Independent "'I am an indefatigable letter writer', Iris Murdoch wrote to a friend in 1968. 'I am pretty good at conversation by letter'. A new, insightful book, Living on Paper: Letters from Iris Murdoch 1934-1995 testifies that she was right on both counts."--Malcolm Forbes, The National "Living on Paper, the first major collection of Murdoch's correspondence, is a dense inventory of her passions and affairs... Anyone who misses the regular appearance of new Murdoch novels will find plenty to enjoy and admire in these letters. They pitch us back into her cerebral yet vaguely surreal and magical intellectual world. Her mind, here as in everything she wrote, is formidable."--Dwight Garner, New York Times "Intimate, learned, generous, stern and flirtatious... [Living on Paper] begins when [Iris Murdoch] is 15 ... and ends, heart-wrenchingly, with her struggling through Alzheimer's to write a valued friend... In between is an epic, epistolary 20th-century adventure."--Nicholas Kohler, Maclean's "[C]hatty, friendly letters, full of warmth."--Robert Fulford, National Post "Readers come closer to Iris Murdoch--the writer, the friend, the lover, the person--than either Peter Conradi's official biography or [John] Bayley's memoirs allowed... It's this Iris Murdoch--compulsively discursive, doggedly happy--who dominates Living on Paper and fills it with the kind of smart, nimble-footed small talk that is always the principal joy of reading letter collections."--Steve Donoghue, Christian Science Monitor "Living on Paper is a revelatory and exquisitely insightful read in its totality, brimming with Murdoch's uncommon sincerity and shrewdness."--Maria Popova, Brain Pickings "Avril Horner ... and Anne Rowe ... allow Murdoch, who struggled with Alzheimer's in the 1990s, to speak in her own voice. [Living on Paper] provides fascinating insights into her philosophy and, most of all, into her immensely complicated personal life. Murdoch's many fans are in for a treat... [A] superb volume."--Glenn Altschuler, San Francisco Chronicle "[A] handsome and well-edited volume... As well as indicating [Iris Murdoch's] philosophical enthusiasms, the letters also trace her spiritual and political trajectories from apprentice existentialist to Christian-Buddhist mystic and from zealous Communist Party member to Margaret Thatcher supporter, making Living on Paper a noteworthy contribution to the intellectual and cultural history of postwar England."--George O'Brien, American Scholar "The years since Murdoch's death in 1999 haven't lacked for biographical portraits of her... Living on Paper represents something fresh, though: a composite picture of the author formed through her own words to friends, lovers, colleagues, and students... The volume's real value ... lies in its illumination of the complexity of Murdoch's identity and relationships, which, it's clear, fed both her fiction and her thought in fruitful ways... The letters show her from multiple angles: variously bantering, serious, generous, retrograde then progressive, arrogant then painfully doubting her own abilities."--Alex Roman, PopMatters "[A] rich collection of letters... [T]hey create a vivid mosaic memoir, catching slivers of a vibrant private voice, overheard."--Felicity Plunkett, The Australian "Spanning 60 years and including more than 700 letters, this collection reveals the contours of Murdoch's personality and her important friendships... Readers will be introduced to many of Murdoch's longtime correspondents from her early days as a student, communist activist, and United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation worker, and they will see those relationships develop throughout her career."--Choice "The selection of letters is lively and varied. It is preceded by a lucid introduction about Murdoch's writing career, suggests ways in which her experiences flowed into the novels and deals judiciously with the apparently paradoxical contrasts between the moral idealism of the novels and philosophy and the promiscuity of her personal life."--Priscilla Marti, London Magazine "What this eye-opening collection of letters does is to give us a fuller picture of an extraordinary person who led a passionately intense and painfully complex life."--Cassandra Langer, Gay & Lesbian Review "My favorite read of 2016 was Living on Paper: Letters from Iris Murdoch 1934-1995... Yes, you know: that Iris Murdoch! ... But what about those weird novels? A Severed Head? The Bell? Bruno's Dream? The Nice and the Good? The Sea, the Sea? And so-the-so-on? Addictive, hilarious: pure intellectual crystal meth. If, like me, you've read them all, you'll hoover these letters up at once."--Terry Castle, Artforum

Über Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch (1919-99) was a British writer and philosopher. Her twenty-six novels include the Booker Prize-winning The Sea, the Sea and Under the Net, which the Modern Library named one of the 100 best English-language novels of the twentieth century. From the mid-1950s until her death, Murdoch lived in Oxford with her husband, John Bayley, whose memoir Elegy for Iris was the basis for the film Iris. Avril Horner and Anne Rowe are the coeditors of Iris Murdoch: Texts and Contexts and Iris Murdoch and Morality. Horner is professor emeritus of English literature at Kingston University in London, and has published widely on women's writing and gothic fiction. Rowe is associate professor of English literature and director of the Iris Murdoch Archive Project at Kingston University. She is the lead editor of the Iris Murdoch Review, the author of The Visual Arts and Iris Murdoch, and the coauthor of Iris Murdoch: A Literary Life.


List of Illustrations ix Introduction xi Part One: Schoolgirl and Student, August 1934 to December 1941 1 Part Two: Work and War, July 1942 to October 1947 21 Part Three: Academic and Author, October 1947 to September 1954 93 Part Four: Decisions, February 1955 to December 1962 163 Part Five: The RCA Years, January 1963 to November 1967 233 Part Six: Woman of Letters, January 1968 to December 1978 351 Part Seven: Dame Iris, January 1979 to December 1989 465 Part Eight: Last Letters, February 1990 to September 1995 557 Directory of Names and Terms 600 Murdoch's Novels and Their Dedicatees 628 Sources of Letters 629 Abbreviations 632 Notes 633 Acknowledgements 641 Index 645

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Living on Paper: Letters from Iris Murdoch, 1934-1995 Iris Murdoch
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