Visual Arts and the Novels of Iris Murdoch

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Reveals the visual arts as vital inspiration for many thematic and formal aspects of Iris Murdoch's fiction. It relates the paintings that appear in the novels to her experimentation with form, her attempts at rendering consciousness and to her philosophy. Finally, a study of characters who experience spiritual revelations in front of famous paintings endorses the centrality of the sublime in Murdoch's fiction and demonstrates how painting serves to liberate characters and readers alike from an illusory fantasy world. With illustrations.


" an engaging and stimulating book on the way Iris Murdoch uses paintings and the visual arts in her novels to explore human consciousness&. Unravels the use Murdoch makes of the visual arts in her novels with great skill and illuminating perception. For all interested in Murdoch's work and the roles of visual arts in literature, this book provides rewarding insights." - Art and Christianity Enquiry Bulletin

"Lucid and well-written.. a viable reading of Murdoch's novels that advances Murdoch studies in an area that, until now, has been neglected. Rowe's study of Murdoch's use of iconography indicates fresh and creative thinking; this analysis indicates how Murdoch's aesthetics and moral philosophy are interwoven into Murdoch's complex vision of the function of art&. We know that Murdoch taught an introductory philosophy course to art students, that she had at one time considered becoming an art historian, and that art and love are two approaches to the good in her aesthetics. Until now, however, there has been no study that successfully explains the application of art theory to Murdochs writing and to her novels& a major addition to the field of Murdoch studies." - Cheryl K. Bove

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
1. Introduction
2. Painting, Literature and Form
3. A Complete and Powerful Picture of the Soul
4. Who would not sleep with the brave? The Saint and the Soldier as Icons of Human Pilgrimage
5. Deep Conceptual Connections
6. Salvation by Art
Conclusion; Bibliography; Index

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