Iris Murdoch’s Use of First-Person Narrative in The Black Prince
Dooley, Gillian Mary
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Many critics place Iris Murdoch’s first-person novels, narrated by a more or less egotistical and unperceptive male who is also the protagonist, near the summit of her achievement as a novelist, and most agree that The Black Prince (1973) is one of the best, if not the best, of all her works. In a novel like this, which is full of veiled meanings, ironies and mixed messages, how does the reader decide where the truth lies? How can a narrator such as Bradley Pearson, who is patently misguided throughout much of the book’s action, convince us that at the time of writing he has attained true wisdom from his ordeals? And what made Murdoch choose, for the fourth time, to impersonate her protagonist in this “complex and brilliant exploration of the relationship between the author and her male narrator” (Johnson 35)?