'Adolescent Girls Attract Ghosts': Iris Murdoch and the supernatural

Leeson, M. (2023) 'Adolescent Girls Attract Ghosts': Iris Murdoch and the supernatural. In: Iris Murdoch and the Literary Imagination. Iris Murdoch Today . Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 147-162. ISBN 9783031272158

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Miles Leeson explores ‘Adolescent Girls attract ghosts: Iris Murdoch and the Supernatural’ in Chap. 9, contending that although substantial work has been written on Murdoch’s early Gothic fiction, little attention has hitherto been given to her use of the supernatural as a motif throughout her fictional career. Leeson draws not only on her novels, but also on her philosophy and unpublished journals to suggest that this material is not primarily there to give a ‘chill’ or fictional frisson, but to illuminate her underlying motives with regard to deconstructing toxic masculinity, arguing that the adolescent woman has the strongest connection of all with the embedded supernatural. Above the narrative patterning, however, he also posits that Murdoch’s understanding of linguistic philosophy, emanating from the early work of Wittgenstein, allows for no conception of magic (or magical thinking) but that her perception of the social world she inhabits necessitates an engagement with, and use of, supernatural events, powers, and visions. As Murdoch herself says, the ‘world can suddenly show itself as magic. This is a permanent existential quality of the world. Nb social world is magical’ (151) and as careful readers, we should both recognise this tension, and celebrate its fictional appearance.

Publication Type: Book Sections
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
Uncontrolled Keywords: Supernatural, gothic, fiction, philisophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Arts and Humanities > English and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Miles Leeson
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2023 12:56
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2023 12:56
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/7064

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