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Iris Murdoch was one of the most complex writers in modern English fiction. She was born in 1919 in Dublin. The main theme of her novels is the fate of men and women in modern society, their belief and disbelief. Her heroes are lonely and suffering people. In all her novels we find love as great and mysterious force. It is the inner world of the character that interests Iris Murdoch. Her books arise out of the varied experiences of life.

Iris Murdoch lectured in philosophy from 1948 to 1963 at the Oxford University in England. It influenced her literary career and she became an author of many books on philosophy and philosophical novels. She began her literary career with a critical work 'Sartre, Romantic Rationalist' (1953). Her first novel 'Under the Net' appeared in 1954 and since then she published a book almost every year.

Her characters face difficult moral choices in their search for love and freedom and are often involved in complex networks of love affairs. Some of Murdoch's novels

expose the dangers of abstract system of behavior that cut out people off from spontaneous, loving relationships. 'Under the Net' (1954) and 'Fairly Honorable Defeat' (1970) are examples of it. 'The Bells' (1958) describes the relationships among the members of a religious commune. In 'A Several Head' (1961) Murdoch portrays three couples whose unfaithful sexual conduct illustrates their shallow, self-centered philosophies.

Existentialistic characteristic features of loneliness, anxiety and fear prevail in 'The Unicorn' (1963) and 'The Italian Girl' (1964). The ninth novel, 'The Red and the Green' (1965) is apparently a progressive point in Murdoch's evolution to realism, but in her next novel, 'The Time of Angels' (1966), the writer's realistic vision is completely suppressed by the old pessimistic approach to the individual and society. The line of evolution of Iris Murdoch's creative method was, thus, tremendously unstable and contradictory. By the time she began writing, she was a convinced defender of the existentialist trend in philosophy.

Iris Murdoch was always looking for the mysterious in ordinary life. 'The Sandcastle' and 'The Bell' demonstrate her ability to make usual and even banal situations exciting. A lot of other novels, except 'The Red and the Green', brim with unaccountable horrors, senseless crimes and love affairs. The characters are hopelessly engulfed in the world of evil, their alienation is complete, and the author's dependence on traditional schemes of existentialism is obvious. The picture of the Irish uprising in 1916 in the 'The Red and the Green' is written with a certain sense of realism. Her other novels include an 'Accidental Man' (1971), 'The Black Prince' (1973)'' , ' The Sea, The Sea' (1978), 'The Good Apprentice' (1986), and 'The Book and the Brotherhood' (1988) . Iris Murdoch tried to write in the spirit of realistic traditions in English literature. But her books are characterized by features of Romantic trend.


Theme 10: New tendencies in the development of English literature in the second half of the 20th century. The 2nd World War in English literature. The protest against establishment, the threat of the new nuclear war, anti-colonial movement. Philosophy of existentialism in the works by Iris Murdock.


1. What do you know about the literary movement the followers of which were called 'The Angry Young Men'?

2. What is 'the anti-colonial trend' in English literature?

3. What is a 'working-class novel'?

4. What is the difference between 'entertainments' and 'serious novels', written by Graham Greene?

5. What novels were written by Charles Percy Snow?

6. What problems are James Aldridge's works devoted to?

7. What do you think, why Iris Murdoch's novels are considered to be philosophical?

8. What do you know about Iris Murdoch's philosophy of existentialism?


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6. Baranovsky L. S., Kozikis D.D. Panorama of Great Britain. 2. Historical Outline. -Minsk:Vysheishaya Shkola Publishers,1990,pp.45-180.

9. Chase E.M., Jewett A., Evans W. Values in Literature. — Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1965.

10. Diakonova N. Three centuries of English Poetry. — Leningrad : Prosvesh., 1967.

11. Kearns George. English and Western Literature. -The USA: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987.

12. Volosova T.D., Hecker M.I., Rogoff V.V. English Literature. — Moskow: Prosvesheniye, 1974.

13. Hecker M., Volosova T.D., Doroshevich A. English Literature. — Moskow: Prosvesheniye, 1975.

15. Miles Dudley and Pooley Robert C. Literature and Life in England. New York: Scott, Foresman and company, 1948.

16. Ranson House Webster's College Dictionary. — New York, 1990.

17. Guterman N.G. An Anthology of Modern English and American Verse. — Leningrad, 1963.

21. Pfordresher John, Veidemanis Gladys V., McDonnel Helen. England in Literature.- Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1988.

24. World Book Encyclopedia. – Chicago, London, Sydney, Toronto: A Scott Fetzer Company, 1995, 26 volumes.

Key Words and Expressions

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Elmira D. Muratova. Uzbek State University of World Languages. Tashkent 2006. Reviewers: Svetlana Glazyrina, Ph.D., Head, Chair of Stylystics. External Reviewer: Vasilya Rakhimova, Ph.D., Head, Chair of Foreign Languages, Institute for Oriental Studies.


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 1884

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