Degrees of Freedom : Early Novels of Iris Murdoch, Paperback

Degrees of Freedom : Early Novels of Iris Murdoch Paperback

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


First published in 1965, A.S. Byatt's Degrees of Freedom examined the first eight novels of Iris Murdoch, identifying freedom as a central theme in all of them, and looking at Murdoch's interest in the relations between art and goodness, master and slave, and the novel of character in the nineteenth century sense.

Drawing on Iris Murdoch's own critical and philosphical writing, A.S.

Byatt discussed her interest in the thought of Sartre, Plato, Freud and Simone Weil, and related this to the form of the novels themselves.

This edition of Degrees of Freedom has an added dossier of later essays and reviews of Iris Murdoch's work by A.S Byatt, taking us up to the publication of The Book and the Brotherhood in 1987.

It also includes a substantial pamplet written for the British Council which follows Murdoch's fiction as far as The Good Apprentice.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Literary studies: from c 1900 -
  • ISBN: 9780099302247



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7 Nov 2009 - gift from MichelleI'd been wanting to get my hands on this book for some time, and was particularly pleased to find that this is the new edition, with reviews and introductions of later novels not covered in the original text. So, we have full chapters on the novels up to The Unicorn, and then shorter pieces going right up to The Book and the Brotherhood (though not covering every single book), plus two extended essays on the works as a whole. A joy to read - Byatt is certainly not hagiographical and she points out the struggles Murdoch has with showing very strong emotion and love scenes, managing to slip from great to terrible writing within a single paragraph sometimes. But she identifies themes we're familiar with, is nicer about The Black Prince than the others in my Murdoch-a-Month group were, and does a good job of relating themes in the novels to Murdoch's philosophical interests, without going too deeply and confusing the reader.Glad to have read this, and to have it as a reference source.

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