Never Mind About the Bourgeoisie: the correspondence between Iris Murdoch and Brian Medlin 1976-1995

Gillian Dooley, Graham Nerlich

    Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


    Brian Medlin met the novelist Iris Murdoch at Oxford in 1961 when he joined New College as a Research Fellow, and they remained friends for the remainder of her life, though after he left Oxford they only met once again.

    This correspondence published here covers a period of more than twenty years. In his letters, Medlin regaled Murdoch with Australian jokes, travel stories and anecdotes, and answered her many questions about Australian flora and fauna, and the Australian vernacular. She in turn quizzed him about his radical politics, and they agreed to disagree about Marxism and the bourgeoisie. In 1992, she wrote a review of his radical environmental monograph Human Nature, Human Survival for an Australian newspaper, and the full text of that review (only one-quarter of which was published at the time) is also published in this book.

    Medlin, born in 1927, was already in his mid-thirties when he arrived at New College. He had not had a typical academic career. He spent his early years in outback Australia as a store-keeper, kangaroo shooter, stockyard builder, horse-breaker and drover. He returned to Adelaide in the early 1950s and studied Philosophy. After graduation, a scholarship took him to Oxford. On his return to Australia, he was appointed to the chair of Philosophy at the new Flinders University (founded in 1966).

    Iris Murdoch’s correspondence with Brian Medlin is the record of a deeply affectionate relationship between two highly intelligent, articulate and philosophically sophisticated beings.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationNewcastle Upon Tyne
    PublisherCambridge Scholars Press
    Number of pages270
    ISBN (Print)9781443855440
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014


    • literary criticism
    • Iris Murdoch
    • Brian Medlin


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    • Visiting Charlbury Road

      Dooley, G., 3 May 2021, 6 p. Iris Murdoch Society, UK.

      Research output: Other contribution

      Open Access

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