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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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
to compose songs
a magic weapon
a huge sword
to sacrifice one's life
to become master of their own destiny
to subdue one's passions
from all ranks of
to sum up
to show a true picture
to make an important contribution
to be accused
manage to get free
to be undermined
to bring to perfection
to depict characters
a leading shareholder
the principal playwright
the source of the plot
to remain faithful to one's ideas
to rule the universe autocratically
a life of toil and woe
to go bankrupt
satire in verse
to be picked by
to have confidence in
to be supported
the spirit of the time
to undermine one's health
under the cloak of
to expose social evils
to be ańcussed of
the Chartist movement
vices of the society
exaggeration of facts
to draw cartoons
to hinder the development
the realm of beauty
cult of beauty
to be preoccupied
to be accused of immorality
urban manufacturing centers
at all costs
sharply contradicting characters
to expose the vices
to breathe life into
the physiological aspects of a person's speech
to bet with
to teach somebody manners
to be introduced into society
a forward-looking habit
to keep up traditions
stagnation of thought
to reveal a similar philosophy
to deal with burning problems of life
to express one's indignation
social and political order
to regard as one's literary teacher
keen observer of life and individuals
to bring misfortune to
to come in touch with
a new generation of realist writers
a crime against life and beauty
an extremely gloomy novel
to face an alternative
to prosper at somebody's expense
to be doomed to poverty
the central conflict
the democratic layers of the society
to penetrate into
to reveal the truth of life
to convince a reader
to remain neutral
to deserve respect
to wage war
to convey an idea
to take sides
to unravel a crime
a free-lance writer
a versatile talent
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.
History of trolleybuses
April 29, 1882 – Werner von Siemens presents the first trolleybus in the world in Berlin (“Elektromote”)
Werner von Siemens rebuilt an open hunting carriage so that it could move without horses or rails. The vehicle, which was to make history under the name of “Elektromote,” was provided with electric power via an overhead line. A small eight-wheel contact vehicle moving along this bipolar cable served as a current collector. It had to be separately weighted in order not to topple off the overhead line. The contact vehicle was connected with the carriage by two flexible copper cables. These ran down a wooden mast mounted on the carriage to the two main current engines beneath the driver’s seat, which drove the back wheels via steel chains; a functioning differential had not yet been developed.
However, the “Elektromote” never progressed beyond the initial stages, in spite of the fact that in October 1881 Werner von Siemens obtained permission from the city of Berlin to build a test route for the vehicle – although with the injunction that he “must kindly ensure the necessary precautions are taken to prevent of any accidents as a result of the operation of the steam engine (for generating electricity) and the road vehicle.”