Posts filed under ‘Iris Murdoch’

The Black Prince

Iris Murdoch. I couldn’t go to sleep last night till I’d finished it. But all in all I’d say it’s a pretty creepy book. And tedious at times. This is all part of the point, as the main character is creepy and tedious, and the plot outlines his literary and sexual fantasies. Still. Despite this, you get the sense when reading it that you’re in the hands of a near genius. Sometimes the text flashes like a mirror or flicks around like a snake and bites you.

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February 20, 2008 at 11:59 pm 2 comments

The Green Knight


Illustration from the manuscript of the fourteenth-century poem. Sourced here. I love this manuscript, and have seen it with my very eyes!

Iris Murdoch. I finished this a couple of weeks back. It was my read-on-the-plane/bus/train book as I came back from Norway, and I was hooked straight away. On the cover it says it’s a romance, and it reminds me a bit of Possession in this way (one of my all-time favourite books). Lots of characters and colour and mystery and happy endings. I’ve been meaning to read this for absolutely ages because I adore Gawain and the Green Knight, and this is obviously some kind of variation on the story.

I thought the way she alluded to the story was mysterious and convincing – she doesn’t present an exact allegory, but rather captures some of the horror and strangeness and vitality of the original. There were a lot of characters and it was completely charming, in a very English penniless upper middle class sort of way. And that’s all my brain can manage I’m afraid! I liked it so much that as soon as I finished it I bought a copy of Murdoch’s The Black Prince. I chose this one because of the medieval connotations of the title. I’ve nearly finished it – it’s not as light and playful but rather clever all the same… I’m not enjoying it as much, though I do admire it, and have a feeling that something spectacular might happen at the end. If any Murdoch fans chance upon here, any recommendations?

February 19, 2008 at 10:30 pm Leave a comment


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