Search the Collection

Iris Murdoch (1919-1999), Novelist and philosopher

Dame (Jean) Iris Murdoch

Sitter in 35 portraits
Murdoch graduated with a first-class degree from Somerville College, Oxford (1942) and studied philosophy at Newnham College, Cambridge (1947-8), before becoming a tutor in the subject at St Anne's College, Oxford until 1963. Her works on philosophy include Sartre, Romantic Rationalist (1953). After publishing her first novel Under the Net in 1954, Murdoch wrote one novel a year, and in 1978 she won the booker prize for The Sea, The Sea. Described as psychological thrillers, they portray 20th century professional and intellectual middle-class life. She married John Bayley in 1956, and their struggle with her Alzheimer's Disease was the subject of his books, and the film Iris (2002).