Best known for her novels and longer philosophical works, Iris Murdoch is also a brilliant essayist and critic. Existentialists and Mystics gathers for the first time in one volume the most influential and inspiring of her essays and shorter pieces. The selection, by Professor Peter Conradi, starts with an illuminating interview of Dame Iris Murdoch by Bryan Magee, and is organized to illustrate her training and development as a thinker, her rejection of the sterility of Anglo-American and Sartrean philosophers alike, and her journey toward Platonism and a practical mysticism. She negotiates her ideological opponents with elegance and scruple, and draws on a novelist's insight into art and literature to throw new light on philosophy.
Included are Murdoch's influential critiques of existentialism, written in the '50s, and her two Platonic dialogues on art and religion; incisive evaluations of T.S. Eliot, Gabriel Marcel, Sartre, Elias Canetti, Simone de Beauvoir, Simone Weil, and Camus; and key texts on the continuing importance of the sublime, the concept of love, and literature's role in curing the ills of philosophy.
This is that rare achievement, a collection of writings by a great mind which is not only fascinating, but accessible. . . .Murdoch her reveals herself to be an enviably fine essayist.