Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch (1919-1999)

Irish

Dame Jean Iris Murdoch DBE (15 July 1919 – 8 February 1999) was an Irish novelist and philosopher, best known for her novels about good and evil, sexual relationships, morality, and the power of the unconscious.

Her first published novel, Under the Net, was selected in 1998 as one of Modern Library's 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. In 1987, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Her books include The Bell (1958), A Severed Head (1961), The Red and the Green (1965), The Nice and the Good (1968), The Black Prince (1973), Henry and Cato (1976), The Sea, the Sea (1978, Booker Prize), The Philosopher’s Pupil (1983), The Good Apprentice (1985), The Book and the Brotherhood (1987), The Message to the Planet (1989), and The Green Knight (1993). In 2008, The Times ranked Murdoch twelfth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".

Iris Murdoch was born in Phibsborough, Dublin, Ireland, the daughter of Irene Alice (née Richardson 1899–1985) and Wills John Hughes Murdoch. Her father, a civil servant, came from a mainly Presbyterian sheep farming family from Hillhall, County Down. In 1915 he enlisted as a soldier in King Edward's Horse and served in France during the First World War before being commissioned as a Second lieutenant. Her mother had trained as a singer before Iris was born, and was from a middle class Church of Ireland family in Dublin.

 

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