Literary Birthday – 15 July – Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch was born 15 July 1919, and died 8 February 1999.


  1. Art is the final cunning of the human soul which would rather do anything than face the gods.
  2. Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real.
  3. The most essential and fundamental aspect of culture is the study of literature, since this is an education in how to picture and understand human situations.
  4. Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.
  5. People have obsessions and fears and passions which they don’t admit to. I think every character is interesting and has extremes. It’s the novelist’s privilege to see how odd everyone is.
  6. In philosophy if you aren’t moving at a snail’s pace you aren’t moving at all.
  7. Happiness is a matter of one’s most ordinary and everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self.
  8. Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one’s luck.
  9. Perhaps when distant people on other planets pick up some wave-length of ours all they hear is a continuous scream.
  10. For most of us, for almost all of us, truth can be attained, if at all, only in silence. It is in silence that the human spirit touches the divine.
  11. Starting a novel is opening a door on a misty landscape; you can still see very little but you can smell the earth and feel the wind blowing.
  12. Every artist is an unhappy lover. And unhappy lovers want to tell their story.

Must-Read: 5 Bits Of Writing Advice From Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch was an Irish-born British author and philosopher. Her first published novel, Under The Net, was selected in 1998 as one of Modern Library’s 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. She won the Booker Prize for The Sea, The Sea. In 2008, The Times ranked Murdoch twelfth on a list of ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’.

Source for an image of the author

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 15th July 2013