Iris Murdoch: An Accidental Man

(2069 words)
  • Tammy Grimshaw

In a 1968 interview, Iris Murdoch commented that she would like to create a novel “made up entirely of peripheral characters, sort of accidental people like Dickens’ people, this would be a very much better novel” (W.K. Rose, Shenandoah 19:2 (1968) 11). An Accidental Man (1971), which juxtaposes the themes of contingency and accident against the author’s use of narrative patterns and form, is Murdoch’s attempt at such a novel. Containing an enormous cast and a rambling plot, this work can also be described as one of Murdoch’s “open” novels, one that “contains a lot of characters who rush about independently, each one eccentric and self-centred; the plot to some extent situates t…

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Grimshaw, Tammy. "An Accidental Man". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 February 2004
[, accessed 07 October 2015.]