Becoming Iris Murdoch

by Frances White


“It is high time that such an accomplished Murdoch scholar paid attention to these formative years, for it is here that one finds not only deep emotional upheaval, but also the heady continental intellectualism that intoxicated Iris Murdoch – and wrought a unique figure in twentieth-century British Letters.”
Anne Rowe, Associate Professor in English Literature and Director of the Iris Murdoch Archive Project

On December 12th1948, Iris Murdoch wrote in her journal:
‘One of my more fundamental assumptions is that I have the power to seduce anyone’.

Iris Murdoch is best known for her novels of good and evil, sexual relationships, morality and the power of the unconscious. This book explores Iris Murdoch’s developing views on the world, the flesh, the spirit, the mind and the heart. The powerful personal vision of Murdoch focuses on the part of her life where she herself was very doubtful of her own talents and inclinations.

Author info

Frances White was born in London. As a small child she lived in Japan where she discovered reading. From then on she lived in books. Semi-educated at various schools, she talked her way into Hertford College, Oxford to read English, and briefly taught before turning towards libraries. After an M.A. in Librarianship at Loughborough University she did research for the British Library then retreated to rural Ireland where she kept goats and began a PhD on Iris Murdoch at Queen’s University, Belfast. This was abandoned in favour of motherhood, hens, geese, pigs and gardening. However, her misspent youth reading Iris Murdoch caught up with her in the end and at the age of fifty - a late bloomer - she finally gained a PhD from Kingston University for a thesis on Murdoch’s work, written whilst working as a cashier and horticultural buyer for the local supermarket.

Beyond the Workshop Kingston Writing School

Publication details

  • Publication date: 26 June 2014
  • Format: Paperback
  • Price: £6.99
  • Extent: 138pp
  • ISBN: 978-1-899999-60-6
  • Categories: Life writing, memoir, biography