Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School


First Advisor

Karen Kildahl


For over thirty years Iris Murdoch has continuously provided entertaining and thought-provoking novels. This prolific Irish-born English novelist has also sparked contention and controversy. She is accused of overtly manipulating her characters, placing them in extreme and implausible situations, sacrificing the realism which she admires and espouses. The world of literary criticism remains divided regarding their evaluation of Murdoch's intentions and achievements. While some steadfastly deny her a place among writers of the first rank, others proclaim her the greatest author writing in England today. Because she was born in Dublin and raised and educated in. London, both Ireland and England claim Murdoch among their ranks of renowned writers. She remains conscious of her Anglo-Irish ancestry in her fiction, often through the presence of a minor character from Ireland; in addition, she has devoted one novel to the Easter uprising of 1916 (which occurred several years before her birth). However, the majority of her settings and characters revolve around London. Murdoch studied the "classics" (Greek and Latin literature, history and philosophy) at Oxford, graduating with first class honors in 1942. After college she worked for the British Treasury and then The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, helping to place refugees. She returned to academic life in 1947, the recipient of a "studentship" in philosophy at Cambridge. She later became a Fellow and a tutor in philosophy at Oxford.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Murdoch, Iris -- Criticism and interpretation

Murdoch, Iris -- Characters

Men in literature



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University