Iris Murdoch: Under the Net

(1062 words)
  • Cheryl Bove

Iris Murdoch's first published novel, Under the Net, presents the picaresque adventures of Jake Donaghue, a feckless failed artist who guides the reader on pub crawls through London's City district and Paris's Left Bank while he searches for love and meaning in his life. The novel is dedicated to French novelist Raymond Queneau, and Murdoch has admitted his and Samuel Beckett's influence in this work: “I was copying them as hard as I could!” (Rencontres avec Iris Murdoch, ed. Jean-Louis Chevalier, 1978). Yet this is her only clearly derivative and existential novel; she never repeats this pattern in her later works. While lacking the complexity and strengths of her mature novels, Under the Net nevertheless has …

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Bove, Cheryl. "Under the Net". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 July 2002
[, accessed 04 July 2015.]