This volume gathers 23 interviews with the British velist and philosopher Dame Iris Murdoch (1919-1999) by some of the last half-century's foremost critics, academics and journalists. Distinguished interviewers - inlcuding the rewned scholar Sir Frank Kermode, the theatre critic Harold Hobson and the writer and broadcaster Jonathan Miller - talk with Murdoch about her life, work and philosophy. The resulting conversations offer access to Murdoch's beliefs on a wide range of topics and on her techniques and intentions as a writer. The interviews collectively trace an evolution in Murdoch's convictions, particularly on the subjects of religion and politics. Murdoch shares details of both her created and lived worlds, talking frankly about the difficulties facing a velist writing in the second half of the 20th century. She speaks at length about many of her vels and characters, explaining their philosophical and ethical foundations and clarifying points that have puzzled readers. Especially interesting are her views on such subjects as politics and freedom, women's education, the good life, and the possibilities for spiritual life after the demise of organized religions. Gillian Dooley introduces the collection with an analysis of Murdoch's work, looking closely at her method of composition and development of character and situation. Dooley also provides background information for each of the interviews, along with a thorough index.
Gillian Dooley is a librarian and literary critic living in Adelaide, South Australia. Her doctoral work centered on the novels of Iris Murdoch, Doris Lessing, and V. S. Naipaul. Dooley publishes regularly in Australian and other literary magazines.