107 letters and cards from the author Iris Murdoch to artist and friend Barbara Dorf. Topics covered in the letters include their shared love of art, travelling, and arrangements to meet up.
Letters from Iris Murdoch to Barbara Dorf
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 2108 KUAS50
- Dates of Creationc. 1960s- c. 1990s
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish
- Physical Description107 letters and cards
- Direct Link
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Iris Murdoch was born Jean Iris Murdoch in Dublin, Ireland on 15 Jul 1919. When she was very young Iris and her parents moved to London, England, and Iris studied at Frobel and Badminton schools. She followed this with studies in classics, ancient history and philosophy at the University of Oxford, and after the Second World War she undertook further study at the University of Cambridge. During the war years Murdoch worked for the Treasury in London, and then joined the UNRRA providing relief in formerly occupied countries in Europe. In 1948 she became a fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford, where she taught and researched philosophy.
Iris Murdoch wrote a number of tracts on philosophy, however it is for her novels that she is best known. She wrote 26 novels in total, her first being Under the Net published in 1954. Other notable works include The Bell and The Sea, The Sea for which she won the Booker Prize . Her last novel, Jackson's Dilemma was published in 1995.
In her youth Murdoch had relationships with a number of individuals, including Elias Canetti. She met author and scholar John Bayley while working at Oxford, and they married in 1956. She wrote to a great number of people and maintained friendships in this way.
Later in life Murdoch was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, the first effects of which she had attributed to writer's block. She died in 1999.
Barbara Dorf studied at the Slade School of Art. She has exhibited in a large number of prominent London galleries and mixed shows, and in Paris and Belgrade. She is also a lecturer and an art historian. Her paintings were much admired by EH Gombrich and Iris Murdoch.
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