The Bell
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The Bell

By (author) Iris Murdoch , Introduction by A. S. Byatt

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WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY A. S. BYATT. Dora Greenfield, erring wife, returns to live with her husband in a a lay community encamped outside Imber Abbey, home to a mysterious enclosed order of nuns. Watched over by its devout director and the discreet authority of the wise old Abbess, Imber Court is a haven for lost souls seeking tranquility. But then the lost Abbey bell, legendary symbol of religion and magic, is rediscovered, and hidden truths and desires are forced into the light.

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  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 22mm | 280g
  • 01 Jul 2009
  • VINTAGE
  • London
  • English
  • New edition.
  • 0099470489
  • 9780099470489
  • 62,797

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Author Information

Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin in 1919. She read Classics at Somerville College, Oxford, and after working in the Treasury and abroad, was awarded a research studentship in philosophy at Newnham College, Cambridge. In 1948 she returned to Oxford as fellow and tutor at St Anne's College and later taught at the Royal College of Art. Until her death in 1999, she lived in Oxford with her husband, the academic and critic, John Bayley. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1987 and in the 1997 PEN Awards received the Gold Pen for Distinguished Service to Literature. Iris Murdoch made her writing debut in 1954 with Under the Net. Her twenty-six novels include the Booker prize-winning The Sea, The Sea (1978), the James Tait Black Memorial prize-winning The Black Prince (1973) and the Whitbread prize-winning The Sacred and Profane Love Machine (1974). Her philosophy includes Sartre: Romantic Rationalist (1953) and Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals (1992); other philosophical writings, including The Sovereignty of Good (1970), are collected in Existentialists and Mystics (1997).

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Review quote

"Her novels evoked beautifully the atmosphere of the country gardens (The Bell, 1958) or the mysterious London streets (The Time of the Angels, 1968) in which they were set, with their characters engaged in intriguing love relationships, from the totally innocent to the wholly weird." The Times "Iris Murdoch really knows how to write, can tell a story, delineate a character, catch an atmosphere with deadly accuracy" -- John Betjeman "Of all the novelists that have made their bow since the war she seems to me to be the most remarkable-behind her books one feels a power of intellect quite exceptional in a novelist" Sunday Times "A distinguished novelist of a rare kind" -- Kingsley Amis "A tragi-comic masterpiece... A magnificent novel" -- Susan Hill The Lady

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