Iris Murdoch: The Unicorn

(1243 words)
  • Cheryl Bove

The isolated west coast of Ireland, with its ancient dolmens and megaliths, great cliffs of black sandstone, dark coastline, killing sea, dangerous bogs, caves, and underground rivers, provides the compelling setting of The Unicorn. Although Iris Murdoch eschews the term Gothic novel as being too narrow, five of her novels strongly emphasize Gothic motifs, and The Unicorn is among those that have received critical acclaim. The novel abounds in legends and in magical signs and occasions, yet it also develops topics central to Murdoch's moral philosophy. When she discussed The Unicorn at a conference at l'université de Caen, Murdoch noted the connection between the Cluny tapestries and the idea of purity and …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Bove, Cheryl. "The Unicorn". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2003
[, accessed 30 June 2015.]