I looked out Under the Net from our bookcase and found a lovely old Penguin with Margaret Foreman’s beautiful painting of Jake in his chair. I was captivated again and found we had The Bell, The Nice and the Good and about four or five more. I had to read all of them and then, being something of a completist, had to read the rest of the novels, most of which I had never heard of or seen in print.
This collection includes four essays dealing directly with the writings of Iris Murdoch and reflecting work of my own from the years 2015-20. The essays in question are ‘The Varieties of Attention’ (not previously published but presented to a conference at Queen Mary, University of London in 2017), ‘The Elusiveness of the Ethical: From Murdoch to Diamond’, ‘Post-Existentialist Moments: Murdoch and Highsmith’, and ‘Iris Murdoch and the Quality of Consciousness’.
What happens when we deliberately try listening to Murdoch’s novels? What can be gained by attending not just to the social, moral, emotional and visual worlds she creates, but also to the aural worlds in her work?