Afbeelding van de auteur.

Iris Murdoch (1919–1999)

Auteur van De zee, de zee

86+ Werken 26,242 Leden 566 Besprekingen Favoriet van 137 leden

Over de Auteur

Iris Murdoch was one of the twentieth century's most prominent novelists, winner of the Booker Prize for The Sea. She died in 1999. (Publisher Provided) Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin, Ireland on July 15, 1919. She was educated at Badminton School in Bristol and Oxford University, where she read toon meer classics, ancient history, and philosophy. After several government jobs, she returned to academic life, studying philosophy at Newnham College, Cambridge. In 1948, she became a fellow and tutor at St. Anne's College, Oxford. She also taught at the Royal College of Art in London. A professional philosopher, she began writing novels as a hobby, but quickly established herself as a genuine literary talent. She wrote over 25 novels during her lifetime including Under the Net, A Severed Head, The Unicorn, and Of the Nice and the Good. She won several awards including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for The Black Prince in 1973 and the Booker Prize for The Sea, The Sea in 1978. She died on February 8, 1999 at the age of 79. (Bowker Author Biography) toon minder
Fotografie: © Steve Pyke 1990 (use of image requires permission from Steve Pyke)

Werken van Iris Murdoch

De zee, de zee (1978) 3,585 exemplaren
Onder het net (1954) 2,142 exemplaren
De klok (1958) 2,039 exemplaren
Een afgehouwen hoofd (1961) 1,541 exemplaren
De zwarte prins (1973) 1,504 exemplaren
De eenhoorn (1963) 941 exemplaren
Het aardige en het goede (1968) 902 exemplaren
Een nogal eervolle aftocht (1970) 824 exemplaren
The Green Knight (1993) 812 exemplaren
Het boek en de broederschap (1987) 729 exemplaren
De leertijd (1985) 710 exemplaren
Op zand gebouwd (1957) 698 exemplaren
De leerlingfilosoof (1983) 647 exemplaren
Het Italiaanse meisje (1964) 636 exemplaren
Een kind van veel woorden (1975) 632 exemplaren
The Sovereignty of Good (1970) 540 exemplaren
Rood en groen (1965) 539 exemplaren
Nonnen en soldaten. Roman (1980) 531 exemplaren
Bruno's droom (1969) 524 exemplaren
Vlucht voor de tovenaar (1956) 512 exemplaren
Een wilde roos (1962) 491 exemplaren
Antwoord op het raadsel (1989) 486 exemplaren
Henry en Cato (1976) 476 exemplaren
Jackson's Dilemma (1995) 469 exemplaren
An Accidental Man (1971) 468 exemplaren
De tijd van de engelen (1966) 383 exemplaren
Sartre: Romantic Rationalist (1953) 237 exemplaren
Something Special: A Story (1957) 160 exemplaren
Acastos: Two Platonic Dialogues (1986) 144 exemplaren
Iris Murdoch: The Essential Guide (2004) 13 exemplaren
A year of birds : poems (1978) 8 exemplaren
O Sino 4 exemplaren
Canterburyjske priče 4 exemplaren
Die Souveränität des Guten (2023) 3 exemplaren
Unicórnio 1 exemplaar
Henry e Cato 1 exemplaar
İTALYAN KIZI 1 exemplaar
Tilfælghedens spil 1 exemplaar
The Nature of Metaphysics (1960) 1 exemplaar
Hver tar sin 1 exemplaar
Against Dryness 1 exemplaar
Çan 1 exemplaar

Gerelateerde werken

The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction (1999) — Medewerker — 152 exemplaren
Virtue Ethics (1997) — Medewerker — 131 exemplaren
Granta 111: Going Back (2010) — Medewerker — 113 exemplaren
Iris Murdoch, Philosopher (2011) — Medewerker — 12 exemplaren
Plato on Art and Beauty (Philosophers in Depth) (2012) — Medewerker — 4 exemplaren
Plays of the Sixties, Volume 2 (1967) — Medewerker — 3 exemplaren
O'r pedwar gwynt, Gaeaf 2019 (2019) — Medewerker — 1 exemplaar


Algemene kennis

Officiële naam
Murdoch, Jean Iris
Pseudoniemen en naamsvarianten
Murdoch, Jean Iris
Ashes scattered in the garden of Oxford Crematorium
Dublin, Ireland
Plaats van overlijden
Oxfordshire, England, UK
Oorzaak van overlijden
Alzheimer's disease
Dublin, Ierland
Oxford, Engeland
Somerville College, Oxford
Bayley, John (husband)
American Academy of Arts and Letters (Foreign Honorary, Literature | 1975)
American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Foreign Honorary Member | 1982)
St Anne's College, Oxford University
Prijzen en onderscheidingen
Booker Prize (1978)
Ed Victor
Korte biografie
Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin, Ireland, the only child of an Anglo-Irish family. When she was a baby, the family moved to London, where her father worked as a civil servant. She attended the Badminton School as a boarder from 1932 to 1938. In 1938, she enrolled at Oxford University, where she read Classics. She graduated with a First Class Honors degree in 1942 and got a job with the Treasury. In 1944, she joined the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), working in Brussels, Innsbruck, and Graz for two years. She then returned to her studies and became a postgraduate at Cambridge University. In 1948, she became a fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford, where she taught philosophy until 1963. In 1956, she married John Bayley, a literary critic, novelist, and English professor at Oxford. She published her debut novel, Under the Net, in 1954 and went on to produce 25 more novels and additional acclaimed works of philosophy, poetry and drama. She was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1982, and named a Dame Commander of Order of the British Empire in 1987. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1997 and died two years later.



Group Read, June 2022: The Sea, the Sea in 1001 Books to read before you die (juli 2022)
Group Read, July 2018: Under The Net in 1001 Books to read before you die (juli 2018)
The Bell in Iris Murdoch readers (februari 2018)
Musing on Murdoch in General in Iris Murdoch readers (oktober 2017)
The Nice and the Good in Iris Murdoch readers (februari 2017)
The Italian Girl in Iris Murdoch readers (november 2015)
The Sea, the Sea in Iris Murdoch readers (september 2015)
The Sandcastle in Iris Murdoch readers (januari 2015)
The Green Knight in Iris Murdoch readers (mei 2014)
The Unicorn in Iris Murdoch readers (februari 2014)
***Group Read, October 2013: The Bell by Iris Murdoch in 1001 Books to read before you die (oktober 2013)
The Book and the Brotherhood in Iris Murdoch readers (oktober 2013)
A Severed Head in Iris Murdoch readers (mei 2013)
The Black Prince in Iris Murdoch readers (mei 2013)
The Philosopher's Pupil in Iris Murdoch readers (april 2013)
The Good Apprentice in Iris Murdoch readers (maart 2013)
Something Special in Iris Murdoch readers (maart 2013)
Henry and Cato in Iris Murdoch readers (februari 2013)
A Word Child in Iris Murdoch readers (februari 2013)
Bruno's Dream in Iris Murdoch readers (februari 2013)
An Unofficial Rose in Iris Murdoch readers (februari 2013)
Henry Cato in Iris Murdoch readers (januari 2013)
Murdoch & Mayhem in 75 Books Challenge for 2012 (december 2012)


Ik ga eerlijk zijn: dit is duidelijk voer voor filosofisch geschoolden, en dus deels buiten mijn bereik. Zeker het eerste essays (van drie) is zeer condens geschreven en voor mij nagenoeg niet te volgen. Het tweede las ik integraal, en ook daar is aandacht nodig maar het valt beter mee. Murdoch focust zich blijkbaar op moraalfilosofie en gaat na wat de bron zou kunnen zijn van ‘het goede’ en ‘het goede doen’. Een kleine verwijzing naar Simone Weil maakte me onmiddellijk duidelijk dat ze niet vies is van enig neo-platonisme, en dat stoorde me wel. Haar kritiek op het existentialisme en op het humanisme is erg scherp, maar ik begrijp het wel: die twee stromingen negeren gewoon de vraag naar de bron van het goede. Niet dat Murdoch daarmee automatisch op een transcendent-religieus niveau zit, maar via de omweg van de kunst (en ‘het schone’) weet ze wel duidelijk te maken dat de realiteit op zijn minst een dimensie bezit die de individuele mens overstijgt.… (meer)
bookomaniac | 7 andere besprekingen | Oct 27, 2022 |
The central narrative of the novel is set in motion by the death of Radeechy, a civil servant who has apparently committed suicide in his office at work, but without leaving any suicide note. Since Radeechy had access to classified information, the head of the office, Octavian Gray, assigns his subordinate John Ducane to investigate the death, and confirm that there is no security risk. Ducane is a talented, dedicated man, but one with a streak of “strict low church Glaswegian Protestantism,” which left him with “a devil of pride, a stiff Calvinistic Scottish devil, who was quite capable of bringing Ducane to utter damnation” (78). Of course, Radeechy’s suicide will turn out to be a complex matter, and the plot is quite engaging. Several times while reading I spontaneously muttered “Oh no,” out loud. But this is really a novel of characters, driven by the web of personal relationships that radiate out from Ducane and Octavian. As in any great novel, the characters just seem “right.” They are more real than real people, the way Sherlock Holmes or Michael Corleone seem to us. There is no easy way to summarize the cast of characters without sounding breathless, so bear with me for a moment.

Octavian and his wife Kate are wealthy, with a small estate in the countryside outside London. Ducane is, in addition to being Octavian’s subordinate at work, a family friend, so he often visits the Gray household, which supports a menagerie of people. (One of the aspects of the novel that makes it intriguing for American readers is seeing a mode of life that we have no analogue for, and that perhaps no longer exists in England either.) A family friend, Mary Clothier, lives at the house and helps out, almost like a servant. She is a widow, and is in love with Willy Kost, a Holocaust survivor who lives in a cottage, away from the main house. However, Willy seems too emotionally damaged to reciprocate Mary’s love. Mary’s son, Pierce, has grown up in the house. Pierce is infatuated with Barbara, the daughter of Octavian and Kate. She has just returned from finishing school in Switzerland, having blossomed into a nubile young lady, but she treats Pierce with callous disdain. At some level, Barbara realizes that she is being cruel to Pierce, but she is having trouble navigating the loss of innocence that becoming an adult entails: “When I was younger, when I read in the papers and in books and things about really nasty people, bad people, I felt so completely good and innocent inside myself, I felt that these people were just utterly different from me, that I could never become bad or behave really badly like them. …I’m afraid it’s all turning out to be much more difficult than I expected” (63). Another frequent visitor to the Gray household is Paula, a brilliant classicist who has a pair of preternaturally bright, pre-pubescent twins, Edward and Henrietta. Paula is divorced from Richard Biranne, who works in the same office with Octavian and Ducane. Biranne is known to be a rake, so everyone assumes that Paula divorced him. In fact, Biranne’s vices were part of his appeal to Paula: “Chaste Paula, cool Paula, bluestocking Paula, had found in her husband’s deviously lecherous nature a garden of undreamt delights” (147). The cause for the divorce was actually Paula’s affair with another man, Eric Sears, which ended so disastrously that Eric fled the country. But Eric has written that he is coming back. Paula does not want him to return, and she is now in a whirlwind of uncertainty about how to deal with him.

Ducane himself is pursuing a relationship with Kate Gray. This relationship is not an affair as we would think of it, though. It is more like a Platonic love in the truest sense of that term, and the two never do more than kiss: “The wonderful thing about Kate was that she was unattainable; and this was what was to set him free forever” (104). Moreover, Octavian is fully aware of Ducane’s relationship with his wife. In fact, we learn that Kate and Octavian are titillated by her flirtations with other men, so much so that discussing it is part of their foreplay. Ducane’s relationship with Kate is complicated by the fact that Ducane himself has been trying to end a relationship with Jessica, an art teacher much younger than himself. Jessica’s “integrity took the form of a contempt for the fixed, the permanent, the solid, in general ‘the old’, a contempt which, as she grew older herself, became a sort of deep fear. So it was that some poor untutored craving in her for the Absolute, for that which after all is most fixed, most permanent, most solid and most old, had to express itself incognito” (84). Ducane became for her that Absolute, and she loves him to the point of idolatry. However, Ducane does not reciprocate her love. Ducane himself is, in many ways, a good man, but he faces “one of the great paradoxes of morality, namely that in order to become good it may be necessary to imagine oneself good, and yet such imagining may also be the very thing which renders improvement impossible either because of surreptitious complacency or because of some deeper blasphemous infection which is set up when goodness is thought about in the wrong way” (77). Well, that will do for now. There are more characters, but the preceding are most of the important ones, and the others I cannot explain without giving away plot points.

As its title suggests, one of the themes of the novel is the distinction between being nice and being good. Ironically, even though the setting of the story is so quintessentially English, this particular theme is an especially important lesson for us Americans to learn. Someone once said that the true religions of the American people are optimism and denial. We so often confuse being “positive,” “nonjudgmental,” “easy to get along with” – in a word, “nice” – with being a good person. But the two are not in any way the same. Kate is very nice, but that niceness has an intrinsic element of falsity. Ducane says, “Her idea is that our relationship is to be simple and sunny, and simple and sunny I must faithfully make it to be” (138). If the Devil exists, he is no doubt very nice: all the better to seduce us into wrongdoing. Good people, in contrast, are sometimes gruff, sometimes blunt, sometimes cruel in order to be kind. (Contrast the television characters House and Chase. Which is a nicer person? Which is a better person?) Murdoch also teaches us that to be good is not to be perfect. Willy Kost rebuffs Barbara’s request to tutor her: his motive is good, but it is good because he is aware he must protect her, and himself, from other motives that are not good (182-185).

If there is any flaw in this jewel of a novel, it is that its ultimate conclusion is perhaps overly sanguine. This might sound like a strange critique of a novel so focused on human frailty in the face of temptation. The novel is filled with dalliances. Sometimes they have catastrophic consequences, but one is left with a sense that this is inevitable, and everything will turn out fine as long as we forgive each other: “All we can do is constantly notice when we begin to act badly, to check ourselves, to go back, to coax our weakness and inspire our strength, to call upon the names of virtues of which we know perhaps only the names. We are not good people, and the best we can hope for is to be gentle, to forgive each other and to forgive the past, to be forgiven ourselves and to accept this forgiveness, and to return again to the beautiful unexpected strangeness of the world” (198-199). We humans are just as weak, and forgiveness just as beautiful as the novel suggests, but one wonders whether these truths have become rationalizations that are ultimately enervating. As Willy warns someone, “…in hell one lacks the energy for any good change. This indeed is the meaning of hell” (283). (Murdoch’s own personal life perhaps illustrates this danger. See the moving film Iris [2001].)

One of the wonderful things about Murdoch was her openness to religious traditions as sources of spiritual inspiration, whether one is a believer or not. So it is not out of place to end this review by recalling that Jesus saves the adulteress from being stoned to death by challenging the crowd, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” (the forgiveness that comes with love). But let us also not forget that his final words to her are, “Go, and sin no more” (the strictness that comes with the law).
… (meer)
aitastaes | 17 andere besprekingen | May 2, 2019 |
Hoewel ik erg van Murdochs romans houd, vond ik deze novelle voorspelbaar en melodramatisch. Zeker niet van haar beste.
judikasp | 19 andere besprekingen | Mar 29, 2014 |
Dit is ongetwijfeld Murdoch’s beste boek: goed opgebouwd en niet te zwaar op de hand, een euvel waar sommige van haar andere werken wel eens aan lijden. Het verhaal draait om een bekend theaterdirecteur Charles Arrowby , een egocentrisch en manipulatief man, die een leven in de schijnwerpers van de media heeft geleefd. Hij trekt zich uit zijn glitterwereld terug in een afgelegen huisje aan zee, om zijn memoires te schrijven. Het toeval wil dat hij in zijn vrijwillig ballingsoord zijn jeugdliefde op het lijf loopt. Die heeft hem indertijd laten staan, waardoor hij met een levenslang trauma zat opgezadeld. De vrouw, hoewel intussen oud en banaal, wordt een obsessie voor Arrowby. Pas na een hele cascade van verrassende gebeurtenissen en dramatische voorvallen, komt hij op het einde van het boek tot het inzicht dat hij het slachtoffer is geworden van zijn eigen manipulatieve benadering van de werkelijkheid. Op zich een heel interessant gegeven, vooral voor de oudere medemens onder ons. Toch geef ik dit boek maar een twijfelscore. En dat komt vooral omdat Murdoch er een echte vaudeville van maakt met plots opduikende personages en voortdurend wisselende gebeurtenissen die de geloofwaardigheid van het verhaal ondergraven. Spijtig.… (meer)
1 stem
bookomaniac | 94 andere besprekingen | Oct 24, 2013 |


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