The complete A to Z of the characters in Iris Murdoch's literary works.

"To know Murdoch's characters is also to know something of Iris Murdoch herself." Dr Anne Rowe

About This Book

Iris Murdoch by Madame Yevonde, 1967. Courtesy of Mary Evans Picture Library.

What is this book?

Iris Murdoch's people remain the key element of her fiction. This book includes a complete alphabetical list of them and sets them into the context of the places they inhabit, the beliefs that inform them and the many works of literature and art that illuminate their lives. It includes lists of the various small details of those lives, the pubs they visit and what they drink, the newspapers they read, their cars and cats and dogs. There are also details of the other people, historical, fictional and mythological, mentioned or referred to in her books, as they affect the lives of her characters.


This book will enable the casual reader or the enthusiast to place her characters in context and I hope encourage them to read more of Iris Murdoch's novels.

A corner of my Iris Murdoch Library

Who is this book for?

Iris Murdoch's People A to Z will appeal to the many readers and fans of Iris Murdoch's novels and will introduce them to a new way of framing her many characters within the contexts of their own lives and within the wider world of the rest of her oeuvre.


This is a major new tool for research into the literary works of Iris Murdoch and the first comprehensive reference book of its kind to include her twenty-six novels, her one published short story and her plays. The A to Z is a handbook for teachers and students, academics and critics.

An excerpt from Dr. Anne Rowe's introduction to the book

"The scrupulous detail relating to the hundreds of characters who inhabit Iris Murdoch's twenty-six novels is not the only remarkable product of Boddington's A to Z. Its accomplishment also lies in an equally detailed knowledge of their historical, political, philosophical and cultural contexts. Access to this material will expedite and enrich future research into Murdoch's novels allowing more nuanced critical analyses of her complex narratives. The appearance of the A to Z comes at a fortuitious time in Murdoch scholarship, for this decade is the most fruitful yet with regard to fresh primary resource material that now includes forty years of Murdoch's personal journals. Boddington's itemizing of Murdoch's characters and their world, so lovingly detailed, is also a distinguished gift to Murdoch scholarship and together these research materials will invigorate Murdoch studies for decades to come. Indeed the significance of detail in understanding the truth of humanity is voiced by one of Murdoch's most truthful characters at the close of her first novel, Under the Net: an exasperated Hugo Belfounder attempts to enlighten the benighted Jake Donaghue by reminding him that it is not the application of all-encompassing theories to situations that leads to the perception of truth but detail, lovingly observed: 'God,' says Hugo, 'is detail. It all lies close to your hand'."


Anne Rowe, Universities of Chichester and Kingston. Author of many published books on Iris Murdoch and her works.

What other Iris Murdoch Scholars say

Dr Gillian Dooley, Flinders University. Editor of From A Tiny Corner In The House Of Fiction

"This is the book that every Iris Murdoch fan will enjoy immersing themselves in and that every Iris Murdoch scholar will want on their shelves. It will provide hours of pleasurable browsing for the Iris Murdoch afficionado while at the same time becoming an essential resource for research into her novels."

Professor Paul Hullah, Meiji Gaikun University. Co-editor of Poems By Iris Murdoch

"This book will be an indespensible tool for Murdochian scholars and a godsend to general readers worldwide. Literally encyclopaedic, this publication marks a crucial mapping of Iris Murdoch's densely-populated and intellectually-intertextual fictions."

Professor Bran Nicol, University of Surrey. Author of Iris Murdoch: The Retrospective Fiction

"This book is going to be an excellent addition to Iris Murdoch scholarship and also a hugely enjoyable read for those who are interested in her work. This guide should enable readers to orient themselves in 'Murdoch land' and also make for some interesting internal connection to emerge. It defamiliarizes the work in interesting ways."

Professor J Robert Baker, Fairmont State University. Vice-president Iris Murdoch Society

"Christopher Boddington provides a tremendous service for scholars and admirers of Iris Murdoch's fiction. His lively, prodigious catalogue of her characters and meticulous loving descriptions of them, supplemented with similar lists of animals and places that appear in Iris Murdoch's fiction will please and assist readers make their way through her profusion of characters. Iris Murdoch herself surely would have delighted in this magnificent abecedary."

About The Author

Christopher Boddington

Christopher Boddington has, since his student days, enjoyed Iris Murdoch's novels. After retiring from his career as a lawyer he has made a serious study of her work. In particular he has worked on the evolution and completion of this A to Z. As part of his research project he has recently completed a Master's Degree by Research at Kingston University, London, where in recent years much original material relating to Iris Murdoch , including several thousand of her manuscript letters and her hitherto private diaries, has become available in the University's Archives and Special Collections.

He has delivered papers on Iris Murdoch at international conferences at universities in England and in America. Some of these, together with his dissertation 'Precious Dead: The commemoration of Frank Thompson in the novels of Iris Murdoch', can be found on www.academia.edu

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Iris Murdoch's People A to Z