A Word Child (Vintage Classics) by Iris Murdoch

By Iris Murdoch

Kept from a antisocial youth through schooling, cheated out of Oxford by means of a sad love tangle, Hilary Burde cherishes his obsessive guilt and ekes out a residing in a lifeless civil provider task.

When the guy whom he has harmed and betrayed reappears as head of his division, Hilary hopes for forgiveness, even for redemption and a brand new existence, yet reveals himself haunted through a ghostly repetition.

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Extra info for A Word Child (Vintage Classics)

Sample text

As we suggested earlier, it is entirely plausible that Basilius as the misguided leader who abandons his political duty on a wilful personal interpretation of an oracle (despite the best advice of his clearly wiser subordinates) represents a version of the wilful and recalcitrant Elizabeth. As we shall go on to argue below, the main focus of the narrative is not on Basilius’s gender but on the office that he holds and his abrogation of the duties belonging to it. So Basilius can be read as suggesting some of the dimensions of Elizabeth’s position.

3 Our focus is on the representation of female characters and desire in Arcadia, and to establish some of the parameters of our study we begin by briefly considering the kinds of writing that Arcadia comes out of and where it departs from them in relation to women and desire. If we look, for example, at popular fiction of the mid-sixteenth century 25 26 Representing Women and Female Desire from Arcadia to Jane Eyre such as William Painter’s Palace of Pleasure (1566) we find there stories that focus on a female protagonist and the pursuit of her personal ambitions.

It is the passage to romantic fulfillment that is more important than the achievement of that fulfillment. 13 Aside from the specifically literary contexts of Arcadia, we include two other dimensions that relate to the construction of its female characters. The first of these takes in broad political and social contexts, while the second includes the specifically familial, and then we consider the subset that is the interaction between these two arenas as represented in Arcadia. 14 While there are many differences between the social status of Sir Philip Sidney and Barnabe Riche, there are also shared experiences that suggest some of the parameters of Elizabethan masculinity.

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