Iris Murdoch related material presented by Anne Rowe

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Items relating to Iris Murdoch presented to the archives by Anne Rowe. Includes:

  • Papers on a proposed Festschrift on Iris Murdoch collated by Peter Conradi
  • Copies of the newsletter for the Iris Murdoch Society of Japan
  • Press articles on Iris Murdoch
  • Letters written to Anne Rowe and Peter Conradi regarding Iris Murdoch
  • Original text copies of the Iris Murdoch Society Newsletters Nos 1-19
  • Unpublished essay by Rachel Cusk on Iris Murdoch

Administrative / Biographical History

Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin, Ireland on 15 Jul 1919. When she was very young Iris and her parents moved to London, England, and Iris studied at Froebel and Badminton Schools. She followed this with studies in classics, ancient history and philosophy at Oxford, and further study at Cambridge. During the war years Iris 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 Iris Murdoch had relationships with a number of individuals. She met author and scholar John Bayley while at Oxford, and they married in 1956. She wrote to a great number of people and maintained friendships in this way.

Later in life Iris Murdoch was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease, the first effects of which she had attributed to writer's block. She died in 1999.



Anne Rowe is a scholar with expertise in Iris Murdoch who was previously based at Kingston University. She is the author of several books on Iris Murdoch and her work.

Conditions Governing Access

Available to view by appointment. Please email Kingston University Archives and Special Collections to make an appointment.

Acquisition Information

Kindly presented by Anne Rowe

Custodial History

Material has been gathered by Anne Rowe in the course of her work on Iris Murdoch