Dr. Rekha Mathews


Iris Murdoch’s novels, constantly confront with the central dilemma of European civilization in the modern era, the loss of Christian faith on which it was built and from which it constantly struggles to escape.  She refuses to be dogmatic, but her novels are haunted by a sense of loss of a sustaining faith and the need to recapture what is lost. The novels display the author’s profound knowledge of Christian doctrines, as well as its intellectual and spiritual traditions. Writing at the time when the ‘grand narratives’ of the past are declared dead, Murdoch cannot escape the reality of evil and its irrationality that manifested itself in the rise and fall of political dogmas and the devastations they brought in their wake. European thinking today finds itself at the crossroads of the ‘post Christian’ era. This era covers the modernist and post-modernist period. Murdoch is a representative of that era. She tries to evolve a ‘religion without God’ and a moral system that is based not on Christianity but on the idea of the ‘goodness’ developed out of classical Greek metaphysics. She feels the need to re-establish certain lost concepts and in her fiction engages in a search for morality and sustaining religious values. This takes her to the world of Eastern religions and Platonism. At the same time she is haunted by the imagery, doctrines and rituals of Western Christianity. This makes her a uniquely interesting writer who is constantly wrestling with the problems of a post-Christian age.


Dilemma of European civilization, post-Christian condition, Cartesianism, Kantianism,eclectic religiosity

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