Guide to the Iris Murdoch Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1960-2000
Creator: Murdoch, Iris (1919-1999)
Extent: 26.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0212
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: British writer and philosopher. Manuscripts for most of her novels, plays, and poetry, primarily handwritten drafts in notebooks.

Administrative Information

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: The University of Iowa Libraries has been purchasing Dame Murdoch's manuscripts since the nineteen-sixties.

Preferred Citation: Iris Murdoch Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Biographical Note

Iris Murdoch, novelist and philosopher, was born in Dublin on July 15, 1919, and was educated at Oxford University and later at Cambridge. In 1948 she became a Fellow of St. Anne's College, Oxford. Her first novel, Under the Net, was published in 1954. This book was followed by many others and Murdoch won most of the major literary awards, including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Whitbread Prize, and the Booker Prize. She also wrote plays, poetry, and philosophical works. In 1956 she married John Bayley, an Oxford don and literary critic. She was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1987. She died February 8, 1999, in Oxford.

Content Description

Since the 1960s the University of Iowa has been collecting her books and manuscripts. The papers of Iris Murdoch consist of twenty six linear feet of her literary manuscripts, which are arranged alphabetically by book title. The manuscripts include mostly handwritten drafts of her novels (usually in notebooks), along with some typescripts, galley proofs, working notes and correspondence. Some of the books included are: An Accidental Man, The Bell, The Nice and the Good, The Sea, the Sea, and A Word Child. There is also correspondence between Iris Murdoch and John Fletcher.

Related Materials

The Center for Iris Murdoch Studies at Kingston University

Detailed Description of the Collection

Browse by Series:


This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

English fiction
English literature
Women authors
Women authors, English

Genre/Form of Materials:
Drafts (Documents)

English & American Literature
Writers Archive at Iowa
Novelists, Story Writers, & Poets