A S Byatt

Her Philosophical Essays Changed Everything

Existentials and Mystics: Writings on Philosophy and Literature

By

(Chatto & Windus 546pp £20 order from our bookshop

Iris Murdoch has said in the past that her philosophy is quite separate from her novels. This is perhaps because she has a suspicion of the ‘novel of ideas’, and believes that the novel should be grounded in contingency, in the ‘thinginess’ of which she believed Sartre had not enough. Her novels are nevertheless peopled with philosophers, with people to whom serious thought matters, and who are changed by it. It is equally clear that one of her central concerns as a philosopher is art in general, and the novel in particular as a way of thinking, of understanding.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,
    • Hi , we would love to review 'Death of the Vazir-Mukhtar' in our next issue! Please could you get in… ,