For many years, Iris Murdoch's relationship with Brigid Brophy was a volatile one.
Iris Murdoch and Brigid Brophy had an intimate friendship for many years, but Murdoch's letters reveal how volatile the relationship could be.
Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin in 1919 to Hughes and Rene Murdoch. While still a baby the family moved to west London. In 1938, Murdoch won a place at Somerville College, Oxford, where she read classics. After gaining her first-class degree, wartime work in the Treasury ensued before, in 1944, she joined the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and was posted to Belgium and Austria, where she worked helping those displaced by the war.
Murdoch left UNRRA in 1946 and, after a year's postgraduate studies at Newnham College, Cambridge, was appointed as a philosophy tutor at At Anne's College, Oxford. In 1954, while still at St Anne's, Murdoch debut novel Under The Net was published.
In a writing career that spanned over 40 years, Murdoch published 26 novels, five books on philosophy, six plays and two books of poetry. Her novel The Sea, The Sea won the 1978 Booker Prize and, in 1987, she was made a Dame. She remains one of the most celebrated British novelists of the 20th century.
The music used on this programme is Near Light by Ólafur Arnalds
Living On Paper: Letters From Iris Murdoch 1935-1995
Editors: Avril Horner and Anne Rowe
Abridger: Pete Nichols
Producer: Karen Rose
A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.