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Florence in Words

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

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. Read More 
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1963 Murdoch essay on The Unicorn, continued, part two

[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.  Read More 
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From Murdoch to Lessing

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. Read More 
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