edmund has escaped from his family into a lonely life. Returning for his mother's funeral he finds himself involved in the old, awful problems together with some new ones. He also rediscovers the eternal family servant, the ever-changing Italian girl, who has always 'a second mother'...This particular return to mother holds some surprises for Edmund.
About the Author
Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin in 1919 of Anglo-Irish parents. She went to Badminton School, Bristol, and read classics at Somerville College, Oxford. During the war she was an Assistant Principal at the Treasury, and then worked with UNRRA in London, Belgium and Austria. She held a studentship in Philosophy at Newnham College, Cambridge, and then in 1948 she returned to Oxford where she became a Fellow of St Anne's College. Until her death in February 1999, she lived with her husband, and teacher and critic John Bayley, in Oxford. Awarded the CBE in 1976, Iris Murdoch was made a DBE in the 1987 New Year's Honours List. In the 1997 PEN Awards she received the Gold Pen for Distinguished Service to Literature. Since her writing debut in 1954 with Under the Net, Iris Murdoch has written twenty-six novels, including the Booker Prize-winning The Sea, The Sea (1978) and most recently The Green Knight (1993) and Jackson's Dilemma 91995). Other literary awards include the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for The Sacred and Profane Love Machine (1974). Her works of philosophy include Sartre: Romantic Rationalist, Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals (1992) and Existentialists and Mystics (1997). She has written several plays including The Italian Girl (with James Saunders) and The Black Prince, adapted from her novel of the same name. Her volume of poetry, A Year of Birds, which appeared in 1978, has been set to music by Malcolm Williamson.
Perhaps no writer in England today, except I. Compton-Burnett, has as unmistakable and stylized a signature as Iris Murdoch, although her novels have a greater range. This, less of a fantasia than The Unicorn or The Flight from the Enchanter, belongs rather with The Unofficial Rose and The Severed Head and is another inbred story of modern life. Edmund Narraway, an unworldly, reclusive man of forty odd, returns to his family at his predatory mother's death. It consists of his brother Otto, Otto's wife Isabel, and their only daughter, Flora. Then too there is the Italian girl, Maggie, last of a series of nursery maids, and a young Russian pair, Elsa Levkin and her brother David. In a series of confidences to Edmund (Edmund The Confessor), all the ??internecine interrelationships are revealed: Isabel's love for David, shared by her daughter; Otto's monstrously physical indulgences with Elsa who has "a sort of death in hor" and does die; and on and on until Edmund becomes part of their world, the world.... Once again a ritual of innocence and corruption, of a kind of physical enslavement as perceived only through the intellect, is accomplished with many dark fancies, sudden surprises and arcane implications. These are all a part of Iris Murdoch's fascination on the one hand, eclecticism on the other. (Kirkus Reviews)
Series: Vintage Classics Ser.
Number Of Pages: 176
Published: 2nd November 2000
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 13.1 x 1.1
Weight (kg): 0.15