Iris Murdoch (July 15, 1919 – February 8, 1999) was an Irish-born British author and philosopher, best known for her novels about political and social questions of good and evil, sexual relationships, morality, and the power of the unconscious. Her first published novel, Under the Net (1954), was selected in 1998 as one of Modern Library's 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. She went on to produce 25 more novels and other works of philosophy and drama until 1995, when she began to suffer the early effects of Alzheimer's disease, the symptoms of which she at first attributed to writer's block. In 1987, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Jean Iris Murdoch was born in Phibsborough, Dublin, Ireland. When she was a few weeks old the family moved to London. She was educated in private progressive schools, entering the Froebel Demonstration School in 1925, and attending Badminton School in Bristol as a boarder from 1932 to 1938. She went to Somerville College, Oxford in 1938 with the intention of studying English, but switched to Classics and she was awarded a First Class Honours degree in 1942. She studied philosophy as a postgraduate at Newnham College, Cambridge. In 1948, she became a fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. She received Honorary Degrees from the University of Bath (DLitt,1983), University of Cambridge (1993) and Kingston University (1994).
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Acquisition Note: Source: Purchase and gift.
Accession number 926, June 17, 1968. Purchase from Eric and Joan Stevens Booksellers.
Accession number 1021, January 17, 1969. Purchase from Bertram Rota Ltd Booksellers. (Correspondence to Osborne and Ken)
Accession number 2105, 1996. Originally laid in book from the library of Max Kahn. (ALS to Mrs. Beckmann)
Preferred Citation:Name of the Collection, Washington University Libraries, Department of Special Collections