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.
Iris Murdoch herself visited Japan along with husband John Bayley at the request of the British Council. They stayed for around two weeks and the lecture Iris gave in Kobe that I attended took place at the Kobe Institute of St. Catherine’s on Friday 28th May 1993. This wide-ranging talk was on ‘The Modern Novel’.
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’.