An Iris Murdoch Chronology by Valerie Purton (auth.)

By Valerie Purton (auth.)

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October Philippa Bosanquet comes up to Somerville to read Politics, Philosophy and Economics (a three-year course). Because of the requisitioning of part of Somerville by the Radcliffe Infirmary, IM spends her second year in digs at 43, Park Town, North Oxford, with Anne Cloake, Lindsay Lynch and Jean Coutts. 1 IM writes a poem (unpublished) called ‘Dangerous Thoughts inspired by Curious Conduct on the part of the USSR’ in which she struggles with her doubts about the Russian nonaggression pact with Germany.

She admits (at the end of another long letter) that in writing she can be very talkative. Before the end of the year, IM moves from Brussels to Innsbruck. P. (Edward Palmer) to contribute to There is a Spirit in Europe, the family’s memorial to Frank, which is to be published by Gollancz. She tells him of Frank’s pure goodness. She mentions too a shift in her opinions about the Communist Party. 1946 January 5 IM writes to David Hicks from her new UNRRA posting in Innsbruck. She is staying comfortably in a hotel in the mountains and comments on the delights of having 42 An Iris Murdoch Chronology 13 19 American army rations rather than French – though she is obviously guilty at being so well-fed when around her people are so short of food.

Conscription is introduced in Britain for young men aged 20–22, who must do six months’ military training. D. Foot begin to go about together, Frank pining for IM and Michael for Leonie, who is in love with Frank. Leo and IM have a brief affair. One evening, IM is seen going into Doug Lowe’s rooms; in despair Frank returns to his parents’ house on Boar’s Hill and digs up a bed of irises. A 22-line poem by IM appears in the Cherwell magazine. IM has a 28-line poem in two stanzas, ‘Oxford Lament’, printed in Oxford Forward.

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