A Word Child by Iris Murdoch

By Iris Murdoch

A terrific yet deeply mistaken guy struggles to earn absolution

Hilary Burde used to be a emerging big name in academia until eventually a sad coincidence plunged him and his mentor and rival, Gunnar Jopling, into 20 years of melancholy and guilt. Hilary, not able to beat his soreness, deserted his promising profession for an unfulfilling task as a civil servant. yet at age 41, Hilary crosses paths back with Gunnar—initiating a sequence of occasions that may switch their lives forever. 

Set opposed to a richly drawn backdrop of post-war London, A observe Child is a gripping tale of ardour and the redemptive energy of affection.

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22 Cultural contexts The editor Daniel Stuart boasted of the power of first-page advertisements to catch buyers for his paper, the Morning Post, the same paper that published ‘Fashionable World’, a column devoted to news of the most exclusive society. He explains why he favoured placing the small, personal advertisements on the front page of the newspaper instead of grander advertisements for the opera, the theatre and musical performances, which he consigned to the second page: I encouraged the small miscellaneous advertisements in the front page, preferring them to any others, upon the rule that the more numerous the customers, the more independent and permanent the custom.

100 The fashionable novel’s obsessive interest in social status and commodity display is not a delight in the snobbishness of fashion for its own satisfactions and pleasures, but constitutes an exploration of social status generated by the Reform years. The range of ‘the middle classes’ covers in its rhetorical vagueness an especially controversial tract of the social landscape – from the landed country gentry, downwards to genteel professionals in the army, the navy and the Church, or from bankers, stockbrokers, 30 Cultural contexts factory owners, great merchants, downwards to small tradesmen and artisans – all of these parties burning to secure a rung on the ladder of social and political power.

48 The silver fork novel, which sells many things – itself, celebrity, publicity and politics, only to begin the list – drinks deeply of advertising’s intoxicating draught. The visual seductions of advertising, ‘the magic of print’, as Robert Montgomery calls it in the ‘Introductory Epistle’ to his mock-epic The Puffiad (1828), puts the rational mind on hold. 50 In the novel’s world of surface meanings, commodities are irresistible attractions for novelists and their readers – houses, gardens, furniture, hats, dresses, jewellery, china, plate.

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