Iris Murdoch: The Bell

(2470 words)
  • Tammy Grimshaw (Universidad de Jaen)

One of Iris Murdoch’s most successful novels, The Bell portrays well-developed characters living in a realistic fictional world that is rich in symbolism. The novel’s success is perhaps owed to its depiction of certain philosophical and aesthetic concepts that Murdoch also explores in her non-fiction, namely the tensions between moral vision and human selfishness, sexuality and spirituality, “the artist” and “the saint”. Even though The Bell illustrates tragic events, a strong undercurrent of comedy heightens the drama of its key scenes.

The Bell begins by describing the life and times of the flighty Dora Greenfield, who has recently left her demanding husband, Paul. Vacillating between …

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Grimshaw, Tammy. "The Bell". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 December 2006
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]