Today to Southport and back, taking Mum home. Sue made lunch for us. Joanne put in an appearance, after lunch. Back about 18:15.

I am reading and enjoying A.N.Wilson's book about Iris Murdoch.

A while ago I read the biography by Peter Conradi, which I very greatly enjoyed. I found that, while my interest in Murdoch's philosophy and her novels was and remains rather limited, (I have scarcely read her at all, the fontana modern masters on Sartre, The Bell, and a look over but not much read of one or two of her books of essays) I have found her very interesting as a person.

Though I have not found no enlightenment in her philosophy, I have an admiration of the independence of mind which enabled her to teach philosophy at Oxford when all around were intent on various sterile allotropes of analytic philosophy. That she should consider goodness of primary interest, possibly not even thinking this a conceptual exhumation met my approval. At least she was attempting something worthwhile. To attempt it also, in the manner of the novelist, by living a rather bizarre life and turning it into novels (as well as philosophical essays), seemed more likely to yield worthwhile insights (relevant to morals) than the methods of analysis.

I never understood how a philosophy (such as existentialism) could be conveyed in a novel. I read the Satre triology, "Iron in the Soul" is perhaps the name of the whole or of a part, not long after being sent down from Cambridge at the suggestion of David Burgess. I think he, I and Pete Flake each bought one volume and passed them around. This was before I have any recollection of reading any philosophy at all, and I am not aware that I had the least appreciation of the supposed philosophical content of the books. I have subsequently attempted, after rather more exposure to philosophy in general and a bit of exposure to existentialism (Murdoch's book on Sarte and a failed attempt to read {\it Being and Nothingness}, to get something out of {\it La Nausee} with not a lot more success.

I conclude that philosophical novel's don't work for me. I look to novels to discover about the inner life of others, and think a novel good when I feel that I have a sense of how inner life is for the characters of the novel. I doubt that doing this well is compatible with using the novel as a vehicle for some philosophical posture.

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