Never Mind about the Bourgeoisie: The Correspondence between Iris Murdoch and Brian Medlin 1976-1995

Front Cover
Gillian Dooley, Graham Nerlich
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Mar 17, 2014 - Literary Criticism - 270 pages
Brian Medlin met the novelist Iris Murdoch at Oxford in 1961 when he joined New College as a Research Fellow, and they remained friends for the remainder of her life, though after he left Oxford they only met once again.

This correspondence published here covers a period of more than twenty years. In his letters, Medlin regaled Murdoch with Australian jokes, travel stories and anecdotes, and answered her many questions about Australian flora and fauna, and the Australian vernacular. She in turn quizzed him about his radical politics, and they agreed to disagree about Marxism and the bourgeoisie. In 1992, she wrote a review of his radical environmental monograph Human Nature, Human Survival for an Australian newspaper, and the full text of that review (only one-quarter of which was published at the time) is also published in this book.

Medlin, born in 1927, was already in his mid-thirties when he arrived at New College. He had not had a typical academic career. He spent his early years in outback Australia as a store-keeper, kangaroo shooter, stockyard builder, horse-breaker and drover. He returned to Adelaide in the early 1950s and studied Philosophy. After graduation, a scholarship took him to Oxford. On his return to Australia, he was appointed to the chair of Philosophy at the new Flinders University (founded in 1966).

Iris Murdoch’s correspondence with Brian Medlin is the record of a deeply affectionate relationship between two highly intelligent, articulate and philosophically sophisticated beings.




Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2014)

Gillian Dooley is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Flinders University, South Australia. Her publications include From a Tiny Corner in the House of Fiction: Conversations with Iris Murdoch (2003), Reading Iris Murdoch’s Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals (edited with Nora Hämäläinen; 2019), and other books and articles on authors from Jane Austen to J.M. Coetzee. She is presently writing a book on music and sound-worlds in Iris Murdoch’s novels.

Graham Nerlich was educated at the University of Adelaide and Oxford University. He held Chairs of Philosophy at the University of Sydney and the University of Adelaide, and is now Emeritus Professor at Adelaide. He is the author of the books The Shape of Space; Values and Valuing: On the Ethical Life of Persons; What Spacetime Explains; and Einstein's Genie: Spacetime Out of the Bottle. He has also published numerous papers in leading philosophy journals, and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a Founder of the Minkowski Institute.

Bibliographic information