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Murdoch, Iris (1919-1999): Copies of Iris Murdoch's novels owned by AS Byatt

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 2108 KUAS156
Held at: Kingston University
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Full title: Murdoch, Iris (1919-1999): Copies of Iris Murdoch's novels owned by AS Byatt
Date(s): 1956-1980
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 10 volumes
Name of creator(s): Murdoch | Dame | Jean Iris | 1919-1999 | author

Byatt | Dame | Antonia Susan | b. 1936 | author


Administrative/Biographical history:

Iris Murdoch was born 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 Oxford, and further study at Cambridge. During the war years Iris 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 Iris Murdoch had relationships with a number of individuals, including Elias Canetti. She met author and scholar John Bayley while at Oxford, and they married in 1956. She wrote to a great number of people and maintained friendships in this way. Later in life Iris Murdoch was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease, the first effects of which she had attributed to writer's block. She died in 1999.

Dame Antonia Susan Duffy, better known as AS Byatt, is an author and poet, who has won the Booker Prize for her novel 'Possession'.


Scope and content/abstract:

Ten of Iris Murdoch's books, previously owned by AS Byatt and with some annotations by Byatt inside. Includes:
1) The Unicorn (1961) uncorrected proof
2) Nuns and Soldiers (1980)
3) The Time of the Angels (1966) first edition
4) A Fairly Honourable Defeat (1970)
5) The Nice and the Good (1968)
6) The Black Prince (1973)
7) The Unofficial Rose (1962)
8) The Italian Girl (1964) Proof Copy
9) A Severed Head (1961)
10) The Sandcastle (1956)

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Original order

Conditions governing access:

Available to view by appointment. Please contact us at least 24 hours in advance of when you would like to visit by emailing

Conditions governing reproduction:

Annotations are unable to be copied at this. Limited photocopying possible on rest of texts depending on physical condition and as allowed by copyright law.

Finding aids:

Please see our Kingston University's Library catalogue for full details at

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Items were purchased for the collection at Kingston University Archives and Special Collections

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
29 Jun 2015

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