activist, writer, and founder of the Feminist Press

Florence in Words

Blog: 1963 Iris Murdoch essay on The Unicorn, continued, part three

October 22, 2012

Tags: Iris Murdoch

Note to Iris Murdoch readers: This is the end of the essay I wrote nearly 50 years ago. I will be working on Doris Lessing for the next two months, but I will be glad to interrupt that work to respond to comments about this essay. (more…)

1963 Murdoch essay on The Unicorn, continued, part two

October 15, 2012

Tags: Iris Murdoch

[Note: When I wrote this in 1963, it was common to refer to a woman writer as “Miss, and to use the generic “man.” Sorry, but this is a “relic,” and for the moment at least, I’ve decided not to modernize it.]

Man’s freedom is never so simply and so hilariously accomplished. In The Bell, Miss Murdoch’s fourth novel, Dora instinctively protects and then frees a red butterfly at the expense of losing her luggage, her husband’s best Spanish hat, and his scholar’s note-book. The reader finds the scene immediately amusing, but with ironic overtones, for Dora is unaware of her relationship to the red butterfly. (more…)

From Murdoch to Lessing

October 15, 2012

Tags: Doris Lessing, Iris Murdoch

Those of you who have been looking for more on Murdoch may be disappointed that, though I’ve read two more novels (Henry and Cato; Nuns and Soldiers), and have only one more to go (The Word Child); and though I’ve found the essay I wrote in 1963 on The Unicorn (and really on the first six novels that preceded it), I’m moving to Doris Lessing in order to contribute to a Canadian book being put together to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of The Golden Notebook. So I am rereading relevant Lessing in October and will write the essay in November.

For those of you who would like to see the 1963 essay on The Unicorn, I’ll begin typing it here right now, and if it’s appealing, let me know, and I’ll go on with it. (more…)

Select Works

"Everyone concerned about global feminism, women’s contributions, and humanity’s future will be enhanced and enchanted by A Life in Motion.”—Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume I and Volume II
Lecture delivered by Florence Howe on January 8, 2011, at the Modern Language Association Annual Convention
“It is impossible to imagine women’s studies without Florence Howe. Myths of Coeducation shows her vision and courage, insight and dauntlessness.”–Catharine R. Stimpson, Rutgers University
A revised and expanded edition of the classic groundbreaking anthology of 20th-century American women's poetry, representing more than 100 poets from Amy Lowell to Anne Sexton to Rita Dove.

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