Saint and Artist: A Study of the Fiction of Iris Murdoch
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Published to coincide with his major biography of Iris Murdoch, Peter Conradi’s acclaimed critical appreciation of her work is reissued in a fully revised and updated edition, with a foreword by John Bayley. ‘Peter Conradi is uniquely qualified to accompany the reader in a discovery of one of the 20th-century’s most remarkable novelists and thinkers.’ John Bayley Iris Murdoch, who died in 1999, was the author of twenty-six novels, including ‘The Bell’, ‘A Fairly Honourable Defeat’, ‘The Black Prince’ and the Booker Prize-winning ‘The Sea, The Sea’. In ‘The Saint and the Artist’, the only full critical examination of Murdoch’s work by a British critic, Peter Conradi, who knew her well, traces the way in which the zest and buoyant high spirits of her early novels gave way to a more deeply and darkly comic achievement in the novels of the 1970s, and in some from the last period. He suggests how her own life, wonderfully transmuted into high art, provided the raw material for her novels, and argues that they should be read as serious entertainments and as important fictions in the Anglo-Russian tradition, and not as disguised philosophy.