Nuns and Soldiers [NOOK Book]

Overview

Set in London and in the South of France, this brilliantly structured novel centers on two women: Gertrude Openshaw, bereft from the recent death of her husband, yet awakening to passion; and Anne Cavidge, who has returned in doubt from many years in a nunnery, only to encounter her personal Christ. A fascinating array of men and women hover in urgent orbit around them: the "Count," a lonely Pole obsessively reliving his &eacutemigré father's patriotic anguish; Tim Reede, a seedy yet appealing artist, and ...
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Nuns and Soldiers

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Overview

Set in London and in the South of France, this brilliantly structured novel centers on two women: Gertrude Openshaw, bereft from the recent death of her husband, yet awakening to passion; and Anne Cavidge, who has returned in doubt from many years in a nunnery, only to encounter her personal Christ. A fascinating array of men and women hover in urgent orbit around them: the "Count," a lonely Pole obsessively reliving his &eacutemigré father's patriotic anguish; Tim Reede, a seedy yet appealing artist, and Daisy, his mistress; the manipulative Mrs. Mount; and many other magically drawn characters moving between desire and obligation, guilt and joy. This edition of Nuns and Soldiers includes a new introduction by renowned religious historian Karen Armstrong.
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Editorial Reviews

Martin Amis
You certainly don't want it to end. -- The Observer
From the Publisher
“A power of intellect quite exceptional in a novelist.” –Sunday Times

“She is incapable of writing without fascinating and beautiful colour.” –The Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101494264
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/30/2002
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 1,274,100
  • File size: 505 KB

Meet the Author

Iris Murdoch (1919-1999) was one of the most acclaimed British writers of the twentieth century. Very prolific, she wrote twenty-six novels, four books of philosophy, five plays, a volume of poetry, a libretto, and numerous essays before developing Alzheimer's disease in the mid-1990s. Her novels have won many prizes: the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for The Black Prince, the Whitbread Literary Award for Fiction for The Sacred and Profane Love Machine, and the Booker Prize for The Sea, The Sea. She herself was also the recipient of many esteemed awards: Dame of the Order of the British Empire, the Royal Society of Literature's Companion of Literature award, and the National Arts Club's (New York) Medal of Honor for Literature.

She was born in Dublin, Ireland, on July 15, 1919, the only child of Anglo-Irish parents. Her father was a bookish civil servant who had served as a cavalry officer during World War I; her mother had trained as an opera singer before marrying. The love of both literature and music instilled in her by her parents proved to be powerful formative influences, and she reportedly began writing at the age of nine. The family moved to London in Iris's childhood and she grew up in the western suburbs of Hammersmith and Chiswich. The 1940s saw Iris receive a first-class degree in classics from Oxford, briefly become a member of the Communist Party (from which she resigned in disappointment), work in Belgian and Austrian refugee camps for the United Nations Rehabilitation and Relief Program, and befriend Jean-Paul Sartre, on whom she wrote what was to be her first published work, a critical study entitled Sartre: Romantic Rationalist (1953). In 1947 she took up a postgraduate studentship at Cambridge, studying philosophy under none other than Ludwig Wittgenstein. The fruits of these philosophical encounters went on to form an important part of her fertile talent as a novelist.

With three previous novels unpublished, Murdoch made her fiction-writing debut in 1954. Under the Net is a picaresque existentialist adventure set in London and Paris's Left Bank that displays many of the traits for which her later work is so admired: a fast-paced plot, finely wrought settings, imaginatively developed characters, and a strong philosophical concern with moral issues and ethical crises. Surpassing the somewhat derivative existentialist strictures of this nevertheless stunning debut, Murdoch published almost a novel per year throughout the 1950s, '60s, and '70s and continued at a slightly less feverish pace throughout the '80s and early '90s. With each book, she displayed her unique talent for combining a lively, comic touch in characterization and plot with a serious concern for such profound themes as the nature of goodness and human freedom. A novelist and philosopher rolled into one, Iris Murdoch declared in her famous essay "Against Dryness" (1961) that literature "has taken over some of the tasks formerly performed by philosophy." However, she never allowed her novels or her characters to become abstract stand-ins for philosophical viewpoints, asserting in the same essay that the novel should be "a fit house for free characters to live in."

Producing romances such as The Sandcastle (1957), religious fables such as The Bell (1958), and fantasies such as The Unicorn (1963), she ranged widely across genres and settings. A Severed Head (1961)later made into both a play and a filmtakes on Jungian archetypes and Freud's theories about masculine sexuality, while in The Red and the Green (1965), Murdoch, in her only foray into historical fiction, delved into the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. Her calling cards became the intoxicating combination of love, marriage, adultery, sexuality, and religion, as well as the inventive use of gothic elements. In The Time of Angels (1966), for instance, the protagonist is an atheist Anglican priest in an impoverished inner-city parish who engages in black magicand through whom Murdoch explored the central question of the role of morality after the death of God.

From the 1970s into the 1990s, international acclaim and recognition
coincided with the publication of some of her finest work, including an
experimental novel of love gone mad, The Black Prince (1973), her popular and highly esteemed The Sea, The Sea (1978), and a Platonic investigation
of morality, Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals (1992), one of her most acclaimed nonfiction writings. Her last novel, Jackson's Dilemma (1995),
was published just as Alzheimer's began to take its toll. She died in Oxford on February 8, 1999, survived by her husband, John Bayley.
Karen Armstrong's books include The Battle for God, A History of God: The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths; and In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis. A former Roman Catholic nun, she teaches at Leo Baeck College for the Study of Judaism and received the 1999 Muslim Public Affairs Council Media Award.







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Table of Contents

Nuns and SoldiersIntroduction by Karen Armstrong

Nuns and Soldiers

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 16, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I liked the smooth narration and characters.

    I've read about a hundred pages of this novel and I like it. There is the French highbrow cliches which I have no idea what they mean but it does sound sophisticated. This novel is like a medium rich texture that I find enjoyable. Thanks.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2002

    A good quality, solid novel

    My first Murdoch novel and if this is any indication of the quality of her work, I look forward to reading many more. Actually suggested by my book group whose members received it with mixed reviews. I liked the eccentric characters and the flow of the plot. I particularly enjoyed Murdoch's descriptive writing style and the way she developed the storyline. Not a fantastic read but a sturdy story that satisfies the soul. Suitable rainy afternoon reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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