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Murdoch, Iris (1919-1999): Notebooks and other Items belonging to Iris Murdoch

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 2108 KUAS225
Held at: Kingston University
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Full title: Murdoch, Iris (1919-1999): Notebooks and other Items belonging to Iris Murdoch
Date(s): 1944-[1999]
Level of description: Fonds
Extent: 2 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:

Notebooks and other items belonging to Iris Murdoch from her home at Charlbury Road, Oxford. Includes:
1) File containing typed draft of paper 'Evil is to Love, what Mystery is to Intelligence' by Martin Andic dated 26 Feb 1995, plus typed text draft of the opening pages of John Bayley's 'Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch'
2) Bundle containing handwritten notes by Iris Murdoch on Martin Heidegger, plus typed notes on philosophy with handwritten annotations by Murdoch c. early 1990s
3) 16 notebooks containing notes on the Greek language 1960s- 1980s
4) 4 notebooks with planning notes for the novel 'The Good Apprentice'
5) Notebook with notes on 'The Message to the Planet'
6) Notebook with notes on 'The Book and the Brotherhood'
7) 8 notebooks with notes on philosophy, including notes on the Gifford Lectures and 'Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals'
8) 2 notebooks from Iris Murdoch's trip to China 1979
9) Notebook from trip to India/ Australia 1967
10) Appointment diaries 1978 and 1980
11) 2 notebooks on unknown subjects (possibly philosophy)
12) Notebook on Hebrew 1979
13) Indexed notebook with topics noted in top right hand corner, possibly for Greek words. However pages are empty.
14) Notebook dated 26 Jan 1954- first few pages have been removed, otherwise the notebook is empty
15) Notebook dated 1955- 1958. One page of notes on ethics in the back, and several pages have been ripped out from the front. Otherwise empty. Possibly originally used as a journal?
16) Notebook noted as belonging to Iris Murdoch at HM Treasury dated 12 Mar 1944. Several pages have been ripped out from the front. Otherwise empty. Possibly originally used as a journal?
17) Blank nature notebook
18) 2 photographs of Iris Murdoch's desk, labelled on reverse by John Bayley 'Iris Murdoch's table'
19) Piece of blotting paper used by Iris Murdoch when writing letters
20) 23 empty envelopes either addressed to Iris Murdoch and / or John Bayley, or addressed by Iris Murdoch to other people
21) 3 pieces of Berkeley Department of English Headed Paper, one with beginnings of a letter written by Iris Murdoch to unknown recipient
22) 5 blank postcards from St Catherine's College, and 3 blank pieces of notepaper. Murdoch has written the Cedar Lodge address on the back of one of the postcards.
23) 2 blank postcards
24) Blank postcards with Reynold Stone's name and address at the top
24) Blank notepaper with La Valencia Hotel printed at the top
25) Two blank pre-printed invitation cards
26) 5 blank pieces of notepaper printed with the Conservation Society logo
27) Blank postcard from New College Oxford
28) Postcard advertising opening of an exhibition by Lesley Foxcroft at the Riverside Studios
29) Invitation to Iris Murdoch and John Bayley to attend an event at Parker and Son Ltd 14 Nov 1984
30) Invitation to cocktails at Timothy Dwight College 28 Feb 1983
31) Blank black notebook
32) Blank Basildon Bond notepad
33) 3 blank WH Smith notebooks

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In original order 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 may be possible. Please contact Kingston University Archives and Special Collections for more information.

Finding aids:

Please see Kingston University Archives and Special Collections online catalogue.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Stored in Iris Murdoch's home in Charlbury Road, Oxford.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Kindly presented by Audi Bayley.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Please see GB 2108 KUAS202 for more notebooks owned by Iris Murdoch.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
December 2017

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