An Iris Murdoch Chronology by Valerie Purton (auth.)

By Valerie Purton (auth.)

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IM signs the minutes. 8 Labour Club Executive Committee meeting. IM signs the minutes. 15 Labour Club Executive Committee meeting. IM signs the minutes. 19 Labour Club Executive Committee meeting. IM has now given way to Rosemary Simpson, who signs the minutes. 22 Germany invades the USSR. The British Communist Party gives up its pacifism, to IM’s initial disgust. She considers quitting the Party. She has had a difficult term as OULC Chairman, coping with the success of the break-away moderate Oxford University Democratic Socialist Club and with the animosity of the Oxford population, who dislike the OULC because of its Communism.

December 26 IM spends Boxing Day with David Hicks and his family in Palmer’s Green, North London. 1939 During her student days IM writes a fan letter to Samuel Beckett, whose novel, Murphy she adores. Only Denis Healey, fellow Labour Club member, has a copy and he lends it out to his friends. IM tells Beckett this and that there is a copy in the Buckingham Palace Road library: should she steal it? He replies saying that she should. January (early) 14 IM is rudely rejected by David Hicks. She believes this is because of her insistence on the importance of virginity.

Housman and Gerard Manley Hopkins). November 11 IM publishes in the Cherwell an untitled poem, ‘You take life tiptoe’, which accepts the horror of war but insists too on there being certainties beyond it. 30 Outbreak of the ‘Winter War’: the Soviet Union attacks Finland. Frank Thompson bursts into Leo Pliatzky’s room in Corpus, horrified at Russian aggression. Leo finds ways of interpreting the action favourably and the two – and IM – go on supporting the USSR, rationalising Russian policy as simply the result of the failure of Britain and France to build a common front against Hitler.

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