AJL24055 Iris Murdoch: the Novelist and the Philosopher

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2020
Extent and Intensity
0/2/0. 6 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
prof. Mgr. Milada Franková, CSc., M.A. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
prof. Mgr. Milada Franková, CSc., M.A.
Department of English and American Studies - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Tomáš Hanzálek
Supplier department: Department of English and American Studies - Faculty of Arts
Thu 10:00–11:40 G24
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.

The capacity limit for the course is 10 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 13/10, only registered: 1/10
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
there are 15 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives
At the end of the course students should be able to understand and explain some of the principle ideas of Iris Murdoch's philosophy in relation to her fiction writing. After reading Murdoch's Booker Prize-winning novel The Sea, the Sea and a selection of theoretical and philosophical texts, students will be able to analyse, discuss and interpret Murdoch's fiction in the light of her views on novel writing and her moral philosophy. The course will develop the students' skills of critical thinking, literary analysis and work with secondary literature. Students will employ and apply the acquired knowledge and skills of analysis and interpretation in writing their end-of-term essay.
Learning outcomes
The students will be able to apply the knowledge, skills and experience gained to broaden and complement their study of British and Anglophone literatures and cultures as well as world literature.
  • IRIS MURDOCH THE NOVELIST AND THE PHILOSOPHER Week l: Introduction Murdoch in the context of the British novel since World War II Week 2: Murdoch's philosophy from: "The Sovereignty of Good", "The Idea of Perfection" Week 3: Murdoch on Plato (from The Fire and the Sun) "Art and Religion" (Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals) Week 4: "Against Dryness" Bryan Magee "On natural novelist and unnatural philosophers" Week 5: The Sea, the Sea Ronald Bryden "Talking to Iris Murdoch" Murdoch's realism, pattern vs. contingency, the supernatural Week 6: The Sea, the Sea Malcolm Bradbury "A House Fit for Free Characters" Murdoch's novel characters Week 7: The Sea, the Sea John Haffenden, from The Novelists in Interview Murdoch's symbolism and Shakespearean interest Week 8: The Sea, the Sea Martin Hilsky's review "the idea of perfection" in the novel: love, freedom, attention, words and communication; Murdochland Week 9: The Sea, the Sea A S Byatt "The Murdoch Theatre" the artist and the saint: the good, power and evil Week 10: Murdoch's other novels (A Message to the Planet) contemporary issues: politics, feminism, sex, homosexuality Week 11: Murdoch's other novels (The Green Knight) Martin Hilský on Murdoch (Současný britský román) Week 12: Conclusions Brian Appleyard "Tiny Spark" Hensher and Skidelsky "The dying of the light"
  • MURDOCH, Iris. The sea, the sea :[a rich, crowded, magical love story]. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1978. 520 s. ISBN 0-14-005199-6. info
  • BYATT, A. S. Degrees of freedom :the early novels of Iris Murdoch. London: Vintage, 1994. x, 358 s. ISBN 0-09-930224-1. info
  • BYATT, A. S. (Antonia Susan). Iris Murdoch [Byatt, 1976]. Edited by Ian Scott-Kilvert. Harlow, England: Published for the British Council by Longman Group, 1976. 42 p. ; 22. ISBN 0-582-01252-X. info
  • FRANKOVÁ, Milada. Human relationships in the novels of Iris Murdoch. Vyd. 1. V Brně: Masarykova univerzita, 1995. 93 s. ISBN 8021011912. info
  • SPEAR, Hilda D. Iris Murdoch [Spear, 1995]. Houndmills: Macmillan, 1995. xiii, 139. ISBN 0-333-51923-X. info
  • CONRADI, Peter (Peter J.). Iris Murdoch : the saint and the artist. London: Macmillan Press, 1986. xvi, 304 p. ISBN 0-333-32846-922. info
  • Iris Murdoch and the search for human goodness. Edited by Maria Antonaccio - William Schweiker. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. xx, 266. ISBN 0226021130. info
  • MURDOCH, Iris. The green knight. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1994. 472 s. ISBN 0-14-023166-8. info
  • MURDOCH, Iris. The sovereignty of good. London: Ark Paperbacks, 1985. 106 s. ISBN 0-7448-0028-5. info
  • Sir Gawain and the green knight. Edited by Betty Radice, Translated by Brian Stone. 2nd ed. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1974. 185 s. ISBN 0-14-044092-5. info
  • FRANKOVÁ, Milada. The Green Knight and the Myth of the Green Man. In Brno Studies in English. Brno: Masarykova univerzita, 1995. p. 77-83. Č. 21. ISBN 80-210-1206-4. info
Teaching methods
Weekly 1 1/2 hour seminar: short introductory lectures, student presentations, class discussion
Assessment methods
class participation, contributions to discussion, end-of-term essay
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
Study Materials
The course is taught once in two years.
Information on course enrolment limitations: Předmět si nemohou zapsat studenti Bc. studia AJ

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