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Iris Murdoch As I Knew Her
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Iris Murdoch As I Knew Her

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  67 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
A brilliant, controversial and insightful biography from the author of the universally acclaimed The Victorians.

A.N. Wilson’s tutor at Oxford was John Bayley, and it was there that Wilson met Irish Murdoch. He remained a close friend of them both, and it was at Iris’s pleading in 1988 that he agreed to write her biography. The biography was bound to be controversial, and W
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 2nd 2004 by Arrow (first published 2003)
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Apr 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
As Wilson said after it came out, this is anti-biography: glorious, meandering musings which intertwine thoughts on Iris with the nature of biography; the relationship between subject and author; the relevance (or not) of private life to the work of an artist, and beautiful, dreamy memories of an Oxford where people turn around to find Christopher Tolkien smoking away in a corner, or Iris giggling and sneaking around a friend's house trying to peer inside.

I'd wanted to read this since it came ou
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
I have admired a number of A.N. Wilson's books--but this one was a disappointment. Two thirds of it was taken up partly by whining about how he could possibly succeed at the task of writing her biography--he really didn't want to for a number of reasons, but he had promised her he would--and partly by malicious gossip about students, lecturers, fellows, and professors at Oxford. He dishes out left-handed compliments and funny-nasty tidbits about everyone from Alan Bullock, A.J. Ayer, and Helen G ...more
Feb 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a fairly non-traditional biography. I take all biographies with a grain of salt, and I don't think Wilson can be said to get more at the 'truth' of Iris Murdoch because he knew her - in fact, if anything it makes him less reliable. That said, his shifting perspective and erudite style is very enjoyable to read, and at many points in the narrative I found myself smiling. It's an interesting snapshot of university life in Iris Murdoch's era. Some of the criticism of her philosophy and lite ...more
Ian Brydon
Jan 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I ought, perhaps, to express a personal interest in this book. Iris Murdoch was a friend and, intermittently, a colleague of my mother during their respective academic careers at Oxford, and she even assumed the role of ‘unofficial godmother’ to one of my sisters (who is quite a few years older than me, although it might not be very gallant of me to say so). Although her and my mother’s paths diverged as time went on, I was fortunate enough to meet Iris Murdoch a few times as a teenager, and it ...more
David Guy
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Those Brits do keep writing, don’t they? I look at the titles by A. N. Wilson, who is my rough contemporary (two years younger than I, actually) and I’m astonished, and somewhat ashamed, to see thirty books. (Compared to six for me. Eight on the outside.) The topics he has taken on, even just in non-fiction, are astonishing. Tolstoy. Jesus. Paul. God. I thought you needed to be an expert on a subject to write a book about it, but I’m not sure that qualification operates in the British mind. If y ...more
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography
Sadly this book is more of a memoir of Wilson than a biography of Iris. Sadly he is into ranting and is taking out his grudges against JOB (Iris's hubby) and his ex wife and the world in general.

If you are looking for a bio of Iris then its not the right one. :(
Jul 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sull by: Library find.
So much better than John Bayley's Iris book, though JB was her husband and ANW only a friend. ANW brings her to life as JB never did, plus adds lots of scurrilous gossip, which I love.
Aug 21, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Literary voyeurs
When I die, I want A.N. Wilson to write my biography.
Donella Whiteman
Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
I found this book disjointed and hard to follow....subsequently I lost interest somewhere amongst all the waffle.
Robbie Govus
May 03, 2013 rated it did not like it
Hated every word of it !!!! AN Wilson is a waste of space !!! And if he thinks he knew her, he has no clue what he is talking about !!! This is not a biography of Murdoch but a novel about her!
Nov 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
Malicious and meandering.
Danjela Bell
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Feb 03, 2018
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Apr 30, 2011
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Feb 01, 2018
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Apr 25, 2018
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Feb 13, 2011
Jul 12, 2010 rated it did not like it
115 pages through and damn, this man is full of himself. no thanks.
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Andrew Norman Wilson is an English writer and newspaper columnist, known for his critical biographies, novels, works of popular history and religious views. He is an occasional columnist for the Daily Mail and former columnist for the London Evening Standard, and has been an occasional contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, New Statesman, The Spectator and The Observer.
More about A.N. Wilson