Iris Murdoch's The Green KnightWell, it’s time to round up our reading of “The Green Knight” and I’m feeling quite sad that this is the second-to-last round-up post and the LAST preview! I’m glad that I have my new challenge planned for 2020, and I’ve also got two super books – the Centenary Celebration and Chris Boddington’s A-Z – to read after I’ve read “Jackson’s Dilemma” in December.

Back to “The Green Knight”, though. I really enjoyed my re-read of what is staying as one of my favourite of all the novels (although I’d managed to forget some pretty major plot points, as usual I remembered quite a few small details!). A couple of our usual suspects have posted comments on my review, and I am hoping for a few more. It’s been such a pleasure to have three people who have accompanied me on the read through all the novels over more than two years, and I have heard from other people that they’ve read and enjoyed my reviews and the comments. Your comments on any of the posts are  of course gladly welcomed at anytime! Jo has done another great review on Goodreads (and I’m thrilled she’s mentioned looking forward to her re-read, as she’s been reading all the books FOR THE FIRST TIME with us!). I will add links to other reviews as they come in.

Peter Rivenberg has stalwartly and as usual sent me a picture of his American first edition:

They’ve clearly used the same image as on the UK first (is this a first?) but held it in a frame, and I quite like this one. I wonder if there are any other editions out there – let me know if you have one.


If you have any fun paperbacks or alternative covers, do send me covers to include as I love seeing all the different ways the books are interpreted.

“Jackson’s Dilemma”

Well, here we are with the last novel. As with “The Green Knight”, Vintage didn’t republish this one (I really do wish they hadn’t tailed off, although having shelved all my paperbacks together you don’t notice the oddness so much.  I bought the paperback when it came out in 1996, and added the hardback first edition to my (very small then) collection on 17 May 2008 from the Sensible Bookshop in Hay-on-Wye.

Two very different covers but both effective at getting the book across in their own way.

Here’s the blurb from the first edition:

I’m not sure the first paragraph makes it sound like an IM: maybe we’re reminded of the grounds with the summer house in “The Philosopher’s Pupil” or the big house in “Henry and Cato” (or maybe I’m just being sentimental).

And from the Penguin paperback:

I can remember being pleased there was to be another enigmatic servant, and I love seeing Jane Gardam’s (another favourite author) name on the back, but I think Julie Myerson’s quote has perhaps been taken from a longer and more critical review.

It’s fairly well-known that this last novel was published around the time that Murdoch’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s came to the public attention, and I think I realised at the time it was going to be the last one. There’s lots of discussion about reading Alzheimer’s into the book which you can find with a search: I’m going to try to apply my beloved reception theory to this re-read (I think I’ve read it twice before, once after Paul Hullah redeemed it for me by giving a talk about the animals in it at one of my first Iris Murdoch Society Conferences) and read and react to it as it is. There’s certainly still much to love in it.

Are you going to be reading or re-reading “Jackson’s Dilemma” along with me? Are you catching up with the others? What’s your favourite so far? Your least favourite? Do you have a photo to share of you reading one of the books, or where you read it?

You will find a page listing all of these blog posts here, updated as I go along.