Iris Murdoch and the Others
A Writer in Dialogue with Theology
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Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of Pages: 232
Width: 15.6 cm
Height: 23.4 cm
The 'others' examined by Fiddes are mainly those with whom Murdoch entered into explicit dialogue in her novels and philosophical writing - including Immanuel Kant, Simone Weil, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Rudolph Bultmann, Paul Tillich, Don Cupitt, Donald Mackinnon and Jacques Derrida. This 'historic' dialogue is, however, placed within a wider dialogue between literature and theology being conducted by the author, and 'others' are brought into relation with Murdoch in order to illuminate this more extensive conversation - notably the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins and the feminist philosopher Julia Kristeva. The book demonstrates that characteristic themes in Murdoch’s novels and philosophy - the love of the Good, the death of the ego, illusory consolations, the death of God, the modifying of the will by 'waiting', the sublime and the beautiful, and attention to other things and persons - all take on a greater meaning when placed in the context of her life-long conversation with theology. The exploration of this context is deepened in this volume by reference to annotations and notes that Murdoch made in a number of theological books in her personal library.
This text is an excellent addition to the corpus of work Fiddes has published on the interrelationship between theology and literature. ... this book would be worth reading by those interested in the relationship between theology, literature, and philosophy. * Journal of European Baptist Studies * Lovers of theology and of Iris Murdoch-her novels and philosophy of the selfless good-often leave amazed she could reject theological traditions clearly informing all she wrote and read. Paul Fiddes carefully attends to this puzzle. His is a dialogue of clarity and discovery, for which many of us amazed by Murdoch have long been hoping. -- Larry D. Bouchard, University of Virginia, USA The intersection of Iris Murdoch's professed atheism and her passionate interest in theological questions has long fascinated readers. In Iris Murdoch and the Others: A Writer in Dialogue with Theology, Paul Fiddes explores her life-long interest in theology with a depth and a sophistication which is unmatched. Bringing Murdoch into dialogue with Weil, Derrida, Kristeva, Hopkins, and many others, Fiddes shows Murdoch's relevance for reflection on what it means to travel with and without faith in the modern world. I know of no other work which addresses these important questions as well. -- Scott H. Moore, Baylor University, USA At the heart of this exemplary study of Iris Murdoch are close readings of the novels which enlighten the dialogues between Murdoch and an array of theologians and philosophers from Tillich and Bonhoeffer to Kant and Derrida. Fiddes shows us how the conversations between literature, theology and philosophy should be sustained. -- David Jasper, University of Glasgow, UK Paul Fiddes's scholarly and accessible discussions of Iris Murdoch's novels unveil what he describes as a 'theology of revelation', where their 'ordinariness' is brought into the mystical realm of theological discourse. They are, he suggests, a place where 'God speaks'. His intricate and thoughtful exploration of Murdoch's 'conversations' with other philosophers and fellow writers is literary criticism at its finest. This is an original and thought-provoking work that will enrich the way Murdoch's novels will now be read and interpreted. -- Anne Rowe, Kingston University, UK A vivid concern with the quality of attention is at the heart of Iris Murdoch's work: to others, to the Good, and to the contingencies that shape a life. This quality is also evident throughout the critical conversations - with modern theology, and with G. M. Hopkins, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Derrida, and Simone Weil - that animate Paul Fiddes's compelling new study. Here is a Murdoch with striking contemporary relevance, which grows out of a sustained examination of the formative, creative tension with Christian theology and imagery that permeates her work. The result is an acute and genuine dialogue that Murdoch herself would have leapt to continue. -- Erik Tonning, University of Bergen, Norway Fiddles reminds that theological literature can take many forms... It reminds us that literature can also be a way into a deeper relationship with God and to greater insight into ourselves and the human condition. -- Molly James * Anglican & Episcopal History *