Iris Murdoch's fables of unselfing
Like Jane Austen and Henry James, but also like Fyodor Dostoevsky and Simone Weil, Iris Murdoch is a keen student of those egoistic obsessions that cloud our moral understanding. In Iris Murdoch's Fables of Unselfing, David J. Gordon probes more deeply and comprehensively than any previous critic the intellectual energies, and the ethical imperative of "unselfing," that inform her fiction.
Gordon contends that the term fable best describes the kind of novel Murdoch writes because in each a mythmaking purpose interacts with a commitment to realism, shaping the erotic life of fictional characters into a spiritual pilgrimage on which they struggle, more or less unsuccessfully, to overcome the self-centeredness that keeps them away from the Good.
The most original element in the fiction, Gordon argues, is not its striking modernization of Plato or its adaptations of nineteenth-century influences, but its intensely creative struggle with Freud. In developing his analysis of her themes, Gordon draws on Murdoch's work from throughout her forty-year career, showing how each novel grew out of its predecessors and in what ways each is original.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
introduction Fables of Unselfing
two Paths to the Good
5 other sections not shown
A. S. Byatt Accidental Anne Arrowby become Bellamy Bigsby Black Prince Bradley Pearson Bradley's Bruno's Dream Byatt causality characters Charles comic Conradi contingency Crimond death demonic Dipple Dostoevsky dramatic Ducane Edward egoism Enchanter Eros evil experience Fairly Honourable Defeat feel fiction finally flayed freedom Freudian Gertrude guilt Haffenden Talks Henry and Cato Hilary Hugo human idea illusion imagination innocence interest internal narrator Interview with Iris Iris Murdoch irony James Jesse Julius kind Lucas magic Marcus Marsyas Metaphysics mind moral Murdochian Nice novel novelist Nuns and Soldiers obsession ordeal perhaps person Philosopher's Pupil philosophy Plato plot protagonist reader reality religious Rozanov Rupert Saint and Artist seems sense Severed Head Simon simply solipsism spiritual story suffering suggests symbolic T. S. Eliot Talks to Iris Tallis things truth understanding Unicorn Unofficial Rose unselfing virtue vision wants Weil's Word Child writes