A Writer at War collects correspondence and diary entries by Irish-born author and philosopher Dame Iris Murdoch, perhaps the most criminally under-read writer in America at this time. Why Murdoch should be under-read in the States is a mystery. Author of twenty-five novels plus significant works on philosophy, Murdoch wrote narratives of great psychological intensity that grapple with mythic forces: the search for meaning, morality, the loss of faith, and manifestations of love. Often featuring charismatic male protagonists, many of her books, including Booker Prize-winning The Sea, The Sea, are fearless tours de force. In the U.K., Murdoch has not been so neglected, witness the three biographies of her within the last decade, but the fascination with her personal affairs has at times threatened to overshadow her literary achievements. If Iris Murdoch exists in the American popular consciousness, it is largely due to her widower John Bayley’s three successful memoirs written after her death, and the subsequent film based on them.

more from Laura Albritton at Harvard Review here.