Iris Murdoch, author of A Severed Head, The Unicorn, and The Black Prince, was well recognized in England as a university professor. She used several of her 24 published books to display her views on life and establish her philosophy with her novels.
Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin, Ireland on July 15, 1919, and was educated in Bristol at Badminton School. She later went to Somerville College, Oxford and received first – class honors. She became an assistant principal in the treasury from 1938 to 1942, and later became an administrative officer with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation for England, Austria, and Belgium from 1944 to 1946. She eventually became a fellow at St. Anne’s College, Oxford, and the following year became a university lecturer in philosophy. In 1956, Murdoch married John Bayley, and lived with him for several years in Steeple Aston, a village near Oxfordshire. Later, she was proclaimed Honorary Fellow of St. Anne’s College, and over the next four years she was a lecturer at the Royal College of Art in London. She later moved from Steeple Aston in 1986, to Oxford.
Iris Murdoch has received many honors, such as the Booker Prize, but she has also won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, for her novel The Black Prince and an award called the Whitbread Literary Award for Fiction for another book The Sacred and Profane Love Machine, and she is also an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Later in her life, Murdoch was named a companion of the British Empire in 1976 and a dame in 1987.
Iris Murdoch is considered a moral realist, which she tends to reveal in all of her works. The way that she writes very obviously points to this, and her exposure of the reality of moral issues only establishes her viewpoint further. In her book A Severed Head, her open writing style about the truth of marriage shows her as a moral realist, and her acceptance of the reality of love affairs is affected by her standpoint on life. In this novel, an empty marriage between a couple is portrayed, and within each group of people in the novel, there are several affairs that seem to intertwine between...