Historical Context

Philosophical and Literary Influences
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (1889– 1951) influenced many writers and philosophers...

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Literary Style

First Person Narrative
Murdoch uses a first person narrator for Under the Net, but, rather than using a female voice, she...

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Bibliography and Further Reading

Bove, Cheryl K., Understanding Iris Murdoch, University of South Carolina Press, 1993, p. 36.


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(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Bove, Cheryl K. Understanding Iris Murdoch. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1993. A lucid and valuable handbook for college students that separates Murdoch’s works into two broad categories—the ironic tragedy and the bittersweet comedy—to explain how the writings express her philosophy, depict human relationships, and handle plot and theme.

Conradi, Peter J. Iris Murdoch. New York: W. W. Norton, 2001. A biography of the novelist that examines her early life as an imaginative only-child, through the trauma of World War II, up to her final years. Describes Murdoch’s life as a search for good in a particularly evil century.


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Compare and Contrast

1950s: Elizabeth II is crowned queen of England, and Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, and Harold MacMillan, consecutively, are...

(The entire section is 168 words.)

Topics for Further Study

• Iris Murdoch is said to have been influenced by both Jean-Paul Sartre and Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein. Choose one of these...

(The entire section is 246 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

• Often acclaimed as Murdoch’s best work The Sea, The Sea (1978), a Booker Prize–winning novel, tells the story of Charles...

(The entire section is 500 words.)