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Murdoch, Iris (1919-1999): Iris Murdoch's Journals, Poetry Notebooks and Other Documents

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 2108 KUAS202
Held at: Kingston University
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Full title: Murdoch, Iris (1919-1999): Iris Murdoch's Journals, Poetry Notebooks and Other Documents
Date(s): [1939-1997]
Level of description: Fonds
Extent: 9 boxes
Name of creator(s): Murdoch | Dame | Jean Iris | 1919-1999 | 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.


Scope and content/abstract:

Material created and held by author and philosopher Iris Murdoch, including 14 volumes of personal journals / diaries, notebooks of poetry (much of which is previously unpublished), planning notebooks for philosophy writing and the novel 'Jackson's Dilemma', and loose papers including items relating to the Gifford Lectures and material held by Murdoch in a wooden chest. Also includes artworks and objects from Iris Murdoch's study in her former home in Charlbury Road, Oxford.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:


System of arrangement:

Items have been grouped together by type or subject matter. Original order has been retained where possible.

Conditions governing access:

Available to view by appointment in the Kingston University Archives and Special Collections search room.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Some copying is allowed. Please contact Kingston University Archives and Special Collections for more information.

Finding aids:

See Kingston University Archive and Special Collection's online catalogue.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Material created and / or collected by the author Iris Murdoch and held at her home in Charlbury Road, Oxford prior to transfer to the Archive.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Material kindly presented by Audi Bayley.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Other objects held as part of GB 2108 KUAS191. Other notebooks can be found in GB 2108 KUAS225.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
December 2017

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