Special Stamp and Plaque Honour Novelist and Philosopher Iris Murdoch
11 July 2019
A plaque and a special postage stamp to honour author and philosopher, Dame Iris Murdoch were unveiled today (Thursday, 11th July). Dublin City Council and An Post marked the birth centenary of Iris Murdoch in Blessington Street Park, The Basin, Dublin 7, a stone’s throw from her birthplace. Born at 59 Blessington Street, Iris moved with her parents to London while still an infant, but the family often holidayed by the sea in Dun Laoghaire and Ireland features prominently in a number of her works.
100 years after her birth the works of Iris Murdoch retain purpose and relevance in modern society. Iris Murdoch is the subject of scholarly research and has a worldwide readership.
This enduring influence is due to a lifetime of problem solving and truth seeking through philosophy and writing. Iris’s professional career began as an academic philosopher at Oxford University for fifteen years and evolved throughout her life as a prolific author. Murdoch was a member of the Irish Academy of Letters and the first Irish writer to receive the Booker Prize, for ‘The Sea, The Sea’’ in 1978. Five more of her 26 novels were nominated for the prize.
In addition to her contribution to literature, Murdoch was one of the most profound moral philosophers of the 20thCentury. Her most important philosophical work, The Sovereignty of Good, explored how just and loving attention to the world – especially to people, nature and art – can give us knowledge of a transcendent good. These philosophical themes are present in her novels. Iris Murdoch passed away in February 1999. The birth centenary of Iris Murdoch (July 15th 1919) allows Ireland, as a nation, to renew awareness of Iris’s novels and her moral philosophy.
An Post CEO, David Mc Redmond remarked on the continuing relevance of the author: “We have a proud tradition of celebrating our great writers with stamps. Iris Murdoch unusually achieved mass popularity with a deep philosophical core in her novels.”
Speaking about the unveiling of the Commemorative Plaque, Cllr Mary Fitzpatrick (representing the Lord Mayor) remarked that Dublin City Council had established the plaque scheme to facilitate the commemoration of people, organisations and events that have made a unique and significant contribution to the life or history of Dublin through outstanding achievement, distinctive service or significant community contribution. It was fitting, said Cllr Fitzpatrick, that Dublin City, a UNESCO City of Literature, should honour a woman who was born in the City, and who went on to become one of our most acclaimed writers and philosophers.
The new stamp is designed by Steve Simpson, with illustration based on a portrait photograph of Iris Murdoch and is set in the iconic style of her early books. The ‘N’ rate stamp is valid for postage in Ireland and is available at selected post offices nationwide, online at www.irishstamps.ie or at 01-7057400.