Friday 9th June | 11 – 11:45pm | St Aidan’s College, Bailey Room | during extended break
‘The windmills of her mind’: Iris Murdoch’s journals
Six years ago – June 2017 – the Iris Murdoch archive acquired her journals from her home in Charlbury Road, kindly gifted by Audi Bayley. Since then they have been transcribed by a team of volunteers but we now have to consider the best use to make of them. Using the Cahiers of Simone Weil and the Diaries of Virginia Woolf as benchmarks, this paper discusses the hybrid nature of these writings which reflect the hybrid nature of Murdoch herself, part-novelist, part-philosopher. I will illustrate and analyse the form of these journals which seem to perform different functions at different periods of Murdoch’s life. I have previously written about the way Murdoch re-worked her Gifford lectures into Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals, a process in which you can see her thinking in a manner intended to be made public. Her journals show her thinking in private. I will consider the purpose and original audience for these notebooks, the use already being made of them by researchers – as, for example, in Mac Cumhaill and Wiseman’s chapter in The Murdochian Mind (2022) – and the potential future audience for the publication for all or part of these works.
Frances White is Visiting Research Fellow and Deputy Director of the Iris Murdoch Research Centre at the University of Chichester, Editor of the Iris Murdoch Review, Writer in Residence at Kingston University Writing School, and Series Editor with Miles Leeson of Iris Murdoch Today with Palgrave Macmillan. She has published widely on Iris Murdoch and other writers. Her prize-winning biography Becoming Iris Murdoch was published by Kingston University Press in 2014 and her monograph, Iris Murdoch and Remorse: Past Forgiving? is forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan in 2024.