First Editions of Iris Murdoch Novels and other works

Scope and Content

Copies of first editions and rare copies of Iris Murdoch's works, including her novels and other items dating from 1953-1995. Consists of:

  • KUAS25/1 The One Alone (London, Colophon Press 1995). Limited edition. Signed by Iris Murdoch. Copy 35 of 200.
  • KUAS25/2 A Year of Birds, poems by Iris Murdoch, engravings by Reynolds Stone (Tisbury, Wiltshire, Compton Press 1978). One of a limited edition of 350 copies signed by Iris Murdoch and Reynolds Stone.
  • KUAS25/3 Unrevised proof copy of Iris Murdoch The Time of Angels (Viking Press 1966).
  • KUAS25/4 Sartre: romantic rationalist by Iris Murdoch (Cambridge Bowes and Bowes, 1953)
  • KUAS25/5 The Italian Girl a play by James Saunders and Iris Murdoch (London, Samuel French 1968)
  • KUAS25/6 Unrevised proof of The Italian Girl by Iris Murdoch (Viking Press 1964). Signed on first page by Iris Murdoch. With a typed description of the book inserted inside cover.
  • KUAS25/7 Reprint of Existentialists and Mystics by Iris Murdoch (Birmingham, Delos Press 1993). It was first published in 1970.
  • KUAS25/8 Programme for the play The Black Prince adapted by Iris Murdoch's from her novel The Black Prince (1973). First performance 9 June 1993 at the Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich. Running 9-26 June.
  • KUAS25/9 First edition of Iris Murdoch's first novel, Under the Net (London, Chatto and Windus 1954). With original dust jacket.
  • KUAS25/10 First edition of Iris Murdoch's novel, The Sandcastle (London, Chatto and Windus 1957). With original dust jacket.
  • KUAS25/11 First edition of Iris Murdoch's novel, The Good Apprentice (London, Chatto and Windus - The Hogarth Press 1985). With original dust jacket.
  • KUAS25/12 First edition of Iris Murdoch's novel, The Book and the Brotherhood, (London, Chatto and Windus 1987). With original dust jacket.
  • KUAS25/13 First edition of Iris Murdoch's novel, The Message to the Planet, (London, Chatto and Windus 1989). With original dust jacket.
  • KUAS25/14 Published essay The Existentialist Political Myth by Iris Murdoch (The Delos Press, 1989)
  • KUAS25/15 Uncorrected proof copy of The Nice and the Good by Iris Murdoch (Penguin, 1968) signed by Iris Murdoch

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.

Conditions Governing Access

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Other Finding Aids

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Conditions Governing Use

Some items in the collection can not be copied from due to their physical condition or copyright law. Please send all copying enquiries to the Archive at

Custodial History

Publications were collected together by Cheryl Bove, who presented them to Kingston University Archives and Special Collections.