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The New Criterion

It operates as a refuge for a civilizing element in short supply in contemporary America: honest criticism
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February 2013

Iris Murdoch's "Marsyas"

by Jeffrey Meyers

Reexamining Iris Murdoch, her love of culture, and Marsyas.

Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe, how much it altered her person for the worst.

—Swift, Thoughts on Religion

Iris Murdoch taught philosophy for five years at the Royal College of Art in London, and her travels were closely connected to her interest in art. She visited museums all over the world, and was particularly keen to see works by Benardino Luini, Jacopo Bassano, and Edvard Munch. She was deeply moved by Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection when she made the pilgrimage to his birthplace, Borgo San Sepolcro.

When I interviewed Murdoch for the Paris Review in the summer of 1990, she said,

I love painting. I love looking at pictures, and I did once very much want to be a painter. . . . I kn ...

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Jeffrey Meyers is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and is writing a biography of Samuel Johnson.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 31 February 2013, on page 31

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