Iris Murdoch’s The Bell, and English 20th-Century Communitarianism

Iris Murdoch’s The Bell, and English 20th-Century Communitarianism

12 June 2023By Ken WorpoleBlog

The ideal of living ‚Äėin community‚Äô, of creating an ideal world in miniature, was an underlying leitmotif of late Victorian and 20th century English literary culture, and was of particular interest to Iris Murdoch, author of The Bell. To my mind this is one of her best novels, being the most open to the eddying currents of belief, faith and doubt in the post-war climate of political and social reconstruction. This principally resulted from her ambivalent relationship to the Anglican faith ‚Äď Peter Conradi at one point describes her as an ‚ÄėAnglo-Catholic retreatant‚Äô – and her fascination with the monastic tradition.