Re-reading early Murdoch: Flight from the Enchanter

Re-reading early Murdoch: Flight from the Enchanter

10 February 2024By Elizabeth WhittomeBlog

As you re-read Flight from the Enchanter, there are moments when you can’t stop yourself from checking its original date of publication. How could this have been written 70 years ago? A press baron trying to take over a small publication, for example? Or the opening paragraph of Chapter 25, which recounts parliamentary questions about migrants and hostile news coverage the following day? Weren’t they just last week?

Re-reading early Murdoch: An Unofficial Rose

Re-reading early Murdoch: An Unofficial Rose

23 November 2023By Elizabeth WhittomeBlog

To re-read is not only to be swept up in thematic concerns. Once again, we are captivated by Murdoch’s genius as a novelist. If we have become used, some 60+ years later, to a restricted range of fashionable cultural concerns viewed through the narcissistic prism of semi-memoir, then re-absorption into Murdoch’s writing can be rich stuff indeed.

The Sandcastle (Re-reading Early Murdoch)

The Sandcastle (Re-reading Early Murdoch)

18 July 2023By Elizabeth WhittomeBlog

Murdoch concludes her essay ‘The Sublime and the Beautiful Revisited’ (1959) with a very expressive metaphor: ‘a novel must be a house fit for free characters to live in; and to combine form with a respect for reality with all its odd contingent ways is the highest art of prose.’ Surely we see this in The Sandcastle? Moreover, she never again explored the subject of portrait painting or indeed school-teaching in such depth, though we see in her next great novel The Bell a further development of an enclosed society with its tensions between sacred and profane love.