EILEEN’S EYE

We welcome new contributor, Eileen Battersby, who considers Iris Murdoch, ambivalent Irishwoman

EXTRACT:

This year could witness another fraught cultural struggle between Ireland and Britain as to the ownership of philosopher/novelist Iris Murdoch, whose centenary falls in July. Although born in Phibsboro—and she remained true to her personal Irishness—Murdoch is fixed within the Oxbridge world that was her personal universe. Her characters, with few exceptions, are products of that competitive, claustrophobic society and she explores the complex dilemmas of choice, desire and need: love, sex and, above all, ego. Ego and vanity dominate as her ‘impossibly young’ 50-somethings grapple for romantic fulfilment.

Metaphysical battles are waged in dense, deadly serious, completely comic narratives (honed by Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky and Proust) that are also upper-class romps in which sex and philosophy are interchangeable. While she was the definitive Oxbridge insider, Murdoch, who died aged 79 in 1999 after Alzheimer’s disease had relentlessly erased her brilliant mind, never lost the ability to observe the inhabitants of her narrow academic world with open-eyed wonder. Sexual yearning and sexual guilt preoccupy her cast of clever Peter Pans who possess Oxbridge degrees, erudite vocabularies and smart wardrobes—favouring rich velvet, corduroy and the inevitable tweed. […]

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January/February 2019 (issue no.383)


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March Book Competition

Irish Gothic Fairy Stories: from the 32 counties of Ireland

By Steve Lally and Paula Flynn Lally

Everyone has their own stories about ‘The Good Folk.’ Enjoy this contemporary collection of fairy stories from every county in Ireland, complete with stunning illustrations by Steve Lally and James Patrick Ryan.

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Irish Gothic Fairy Stories: from the 32 counties of Ireland
By Steve Lally and Paula Flynn Lally
ISBN: 978-0-7509-8698-4
Publisher: History Press


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