Lotti Cornett

Lotti Cornett

Published: 16 Dec 2023

Source: Independent.co.uk

Iris Murdoch was not only a talented writer but also a fascinating individual. Known for her thought-provoking novels and philosophical works, Murdoch left a lasting impact on the literary world. Born in Dublin in 1919 and raised in London, she developed a deep passion for literature and philosophy from an early age. Throughout her career, Murdoch published 26 novels, many of which explored complex moral and ethical dilemmas.

This article will uncover nine intriguing facts about Iris Murdoch, shedding light on her life, writing process, and unique contributions to literature. From her remarkable intellect and wide range of interests to her relationships and personal struggles, Murdoch’s story is one that captivates readers and offers valuable insights into the human experience.

Table of Contents

Iris Murdoch was a renowned British novelist and philosopher.

Iris Murdoch was born on July 15, 1919, in Dublin, Ireland. She gained international recognition for her thought-provoking novels, which often explored moral and existential themes.

She wrote 26 novels throughout her career.

Iris Murdoch was a prolific writer, producing a wide range of novels that showcased her unique storytelling style and philosophical insights.

Murdoch’s best-known novel is “The Sea, The Sea”.

Published in 1978, “The Sea, The Sea” earned Iris Murdoch the prestigious Booker Prize. The novel delves into the complexities of love, obsession, and the human condition.

She was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1976.

For her contributions to literature, Iris Murdoch was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

Murdoch was known for her philosophical work on morality and ethics.

Aside from her successful career in fiction, Iris Murdoch was a respected philosopher who tackled complex subjects like moral philosophy and the nature of goodness.

She studied classics at Oxford University.

Iris Murdoch attended Somerville College, Oxford, where she immersed herself in the study of classical literature and philosophy, greatly influencing her later writing.

Murdoch married fellow writer John Bayley.

Iris Murdoch’s love story with the novelist and literary critic John Bayley was as compelling as her novels. Their relationship was portrayed in Bayley’s memoir, “Elegy for Iris”.

Murdoch was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

In 1997, Iris Murdoch’s declining health led to a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, which eventually affected her ability to write and communicate.

Iris Murdoch’s legacy continues to inspire writers and thinkers.

Her unique blend of intellectual depth and imaginative storytelling has left a lasting impact on the literary world, making her work a subject of study and admiration for aspiring writers and philosophers.


In conclusion, Iris Murdoch was a fascinating and multi-talented individual whose life and work continue to captivate readers and scholars alike. Her immense contributions to literature, philosophy, and ethical thinking have left an indelible mark on the intellectual landscape. From her groundbreaking novels that explored complex human relationships to her philosophical musings on consciousness and morality, Murdoch’s work remains as relevant and thought-provoking as ever. Her unique perspective, rich imagination, and profound insights into the human condition make her a literary figure worth exploring and celebrating. Whether you are a fan of her novels or interested in her philosophical ideas, Iris Murdoch’s legacy is one that cannot be ignored.


Q: What are some of Iris Murdoch’s most notable novels?

A: Some of Iris Murdoch’s most notable novels include “The Sea, The Sea,” “The Bell,” and “A Severed Head.”

Q: Was Iris Murdoch involved in any political activities?

A: Yes, Iris Murdoch was an active member of the Communist Party during her youth but later distanced herself from it and became more politically independent.

Q: Did Iris Murdoch receive any awards or honors for her work?

A: Yes, Iris Murdoch received numerous prestigious awards throughout her career, including the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1978 for her novel “The Sea, The Sea.”

Q: Did Iris Murdoch’s philosophical ideas influence her novels?

A: Yes, Murdoch’s philosophical ideas, particularly her exploration of moral philosophy and the nature of consciousness, heavily influenced the themes and narratives of her novels.

Q: How would you describe Iris Murdoch’s writing style?

A: Iris Murdoch’s writing style is often characterized by its rich prose, intricate plotlines, and deeply introspective exploration of human emotions and motivations.

Was this page helpful?

Our commitment to delivering trustworthy and engaging content is at the heart of what we do. Each fact on our site is contributed by real users like you, bringing a wealth of diverse insights and information. To ensure the highest standards of accuracy and reliability, our dedicated editors meticulously review each submission. This process guarantees that the facts we share are not only fascinating but also credible. Trust in our commitment to quality and authenticity as you explore and learn with us.