Iris Murdoch

Affliction and Salvation By Becca Rothfeld

When I arrived in England last fall to pursue a master’s at Cambridge University, I found that social life in that turmoil of towers and turrets and Latin litanies consisted in a series of formal functions governed by unspoken rules I did not understand, at least some of which involved sipping port from inexplicably tiny glasses. (I found this maddeningly inefficient.) Everyone was often drunk, but no one was ever visibly excited. The prospect of a British person becoming drunkenly disheveled, or falling desperately in love, or even typing a sentence in all-caps (a typographic measure I often embraced in my port-inspired communications) was inconceivable.

But different, quieter passions are possible, and it soon emerged that there is a uniquely British brand of feeling, a blend of distress and composure marked by a touching compulsion to keep up appearances in the face of interpersonal dissolution. For all its prevalence and subtlety, this mode of engagement is difficult for the uninitiated to decipher or even to discern, and I would have remained oblivious of it if not for the works of Dame Iris Murdoch, a connoisseur of British emotional life in all its baffling permutations.

Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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