The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban Literary Studies

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeremy Tambling

Iris Murdoch: Dear London, Divided Dublin

  • Priscilla Martin
Living reference work entry

Although Iris Murdoch (1919–1999) spent most of her life in or near Oxford, London is the setting for the majority of her novels. Twenty-two of the twenty-six take place wholly or partly in London. She even described the city as a character in her fiction. She was born in Dublin but her parents moved to London when she was a baby. They settled in Hammersmith near the river Thames, which figures largely in the books. Her first published novel, Under the Net (1954), opens with Jake the narrator’s return from Paris to “dear London” (Murdoch 2002g: 7) and continues with his picaresque adventures in the postwar city. The second published novel, The Flight from the Enchanter (1956), also set mostly in London, is sadder and introduces the recurring theme of refugees, with whom the author had worked in Austria soon after the war. The atmosphere of Under the Netis, by contrast, buoyant. One of its most exhilarating episodes is a pub crawl and late-night swim in the Thames, cheerful despite...

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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordUK