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BLACK PRINCE COLLECTED Hardcover – Dec 27 1987


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Hardcover, Dec 27 1987
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Random House UK; Collected ed edition (Dec 27 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701128313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701128319
  • Shipping Weight: 481 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)


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First Sentence
It might be most dramatically effective to begin the tale at the moment when Arnold Baffin rang me up and said, 'Bradley, could you come round here please, I think that I have just killed my wife.' Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jules123 on Feb. 14 2012
Format: Paperback
This book came in record speed, was in great condition, and was also a phenomenal book. For some reason it is out of print, so used is the best and only way to get it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By andrew young on April 8 2001
Format: Paperback
Firstly, there are many fuller (& better) reviews of this novel elsewhere on this page. I would just like to say that this was the first Murdoch novel I ever read, & I've obsessively tracked down all the others since, although I'm afraid symptoms of her disease were becoming apparent from The Message To The Planet onwards. I have never read an author with such an ability to make unsympathetic characters interesting, or go so deep, but what really did it for me was the way that everything that occurs seems to be totally arbitrary & completely inevitable; i.e. real. This provided me with the final piece in my philosophical jigsaw. Nothing comes of nothing. Every action is contigent on every other action & the world is the consequence of googolplexes of such interactions. Free will is an illusion brought about by a complexity which is indivisible (even theoretically), with all the implications that has for guilt, innocence & morality in general
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Format: Paperback
Congratulations to Penguin on including the late Dame Iris Murdoch's novel The Black Prince to their Paperback Classics series. Now in print 30 years, this novel, to my mind one of the finest of the 20th century in English, certainly deserves the honor. It is a multi-layered page-turner, both exciting and dramatically profound.
What it doesn't deserve, however, is Martha C. Nussbaum's quite misleading introduction-and this is the reason I cannot teach the book in my college classes, as an introduction by a scholar is tacitly seen as somehow "correct" in its claims and observations, almost an appendage to the text it introduces, especially to students. Nor is there a forum for readers to write letters of rebuttal to an introduction, outside of what I am doing now.
But while Nussbaum's background is in philosophy, as was Murdoch's, this is a novel, a work of imaginative literature. Nussbaum treats the text as an expression of Murdoch's own philosophical beliefs. This is problematic in theory, and can be almost ridiculous in practice, as it becomes here-I wonder why Nussbaum (not a literary critic or novelist herself) was chosen to write the introduction in the first place?
Iris Murdoch's novels are "philosophical", but not in the way Ms. Nussbaum would have it-in short, she makes the cardinal error of attributing to Murdoch's characters the author's own philosophical convictions. The protagonist, Bradley Pearson, is in many ways a quite disturbed man, whose critisism of the work of Arnold Baffin is parodic of the negative reviews Murdoch herself received during the 60s (for her work as a prolific, popular novelist). But Pearson's litanies on platonic love in Part Two are not "philosophy"--they are the histrionic ramblings of a failed writer having a psychological breakdown.
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By Joseph D. Mcquown on April 13 2000
Format: Paperback
Regarding a previous review: Perhaps some of the characters are a bit prolix but this is not necessarily a defeat is it? And thank God Murdoch was no Dostoesvsky, should she have been? I think one was quite enough. Bradley Pearson is a pleasant, at least pleasantly readable, incarnation of some of Murdoch's philosophy without being overbearing or esoteric. One need not always read about self-castigation and repentence to know that suffering has variegated coats and one need not do away with one's landlady to find guilt, perhaps it accrues. Bradley Pearson is a certain type of protagonist. Perhaps some will relate and others won't, its not necessary anyway. The dialogue and inner-dialogue is enough to pique and provoke. The "Black Prince" is a good read and should be taken as such, I recommend it highly.
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Format: Paperback
I read Iris Murdoch's "The Sacred and Profane Love Machine" a year ago and didn't much like it. Too much talk, too little action and a plot surrounding a cast of strangely unsympathetic characters that goes nowhere. I thought I was in the same rut for much of the first third of "The Black Prince", when out of the blue, the black arrow of Eros struck and permanently altered the course of the novel. The unexpected change of pace and sudden focus on Bradley Pearce's relationship with the object of his desire at the expense of the adult (and mostly tiresome) characters was a clever Murdoch device that drew me inexorably into the plot. There was no let up in action from there on - the story played relentlessly to its dramatic but tragic conclusion. You see through the eyes of Bradley and form your judgement based on his version of the motives and designs of the unsavoury characters which envelop him but are thrown off guard by the radically different perspectives of the other players (shades of "Rashomon") in the postscript. You get the feeling that nobody's version encapsulates the whole truth (is there such a thing ?) and that everybody creates a best-fit truth that assuages his conscience. Murdoch is heavy on dialogue (nothing wrong with that) but there is a tendency for it to be repetitive (her characters are overly talkative) which can be hellavu irritating. I found that in The Sacred and Profane Love Machine too - must be a Murdoch trait. But whereas the latter is limp and soggy, The Black Prince has a highly intriguing plot and all the elements of a kitchen sink drama-cum-thriller that makes it a winner. A really great read.
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