Elegy for Iris
The book Elegy for Iris was made
into the movie Iris.
Book details for Elegy for Iris
Elegy for Iris was written by
The book was published in
1999 by Picador.
More information on the book is available on Amazon.com.
Read More About This Book
In one of literary history's ghastlier ironies, Iris Murdoch, the author of such highly intellectual and philosophical novels as A Severed Head and Under the Net, was diagnosed in 1994 with Alzheimer's disease, which slowly destroys reasoning powers, memo... Read More
In one of literary history's ghastlier ironies, Iris Murdoch, the author of such highly intellectual and philosophical novels as A Severed Head and Under the Net, was diagnosed in 1994 with Alzheimer's disease, which slowly destroys reasoning powers, memory, even the ability to speak coherently. Her husband, English literary critic John Bayley, unsparingly depicts his wife's affliction in prose as elegant and accessible as hers always was. Readers may wince at the spectacle of Murdoch glued to the TV watching the Teletubbies program, unable to perform tasks as simple as dressing herself and prey to devastating anxiety as the world becomes less and less comprehensible to her. We understand Bayley's occasional fits of rage when his caretaking chores overwhelm him. Yet in the end his memoir is touching, even inspiring. As he recalls their first meetings and marriage in the 1950s, it becomes clear that theirs was always an unconventional union, in which solitude was as important to each of them as togetherness and Bayley was content to let Murdoch keep her inner life to herself. He loves Iris, the woman, not the intellect, and he conveys an essential sweetness about his wife that endures even as her mental faculties deteriorate. This totally unsentimental account of their life and her illness is nonetheless a heartbreaker. --Wendy Smith
Movie details for Iris
The movie was released in
2001 and directed by Richard Eyre.
More information on the movie is available on Amazon.com and also IMDb.
Actors on this movie include Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet, Hugh Bonneville, Penelope Wilton, Eleanor Bron, Angela Morant, Siobhan Hayes, Juliet Aubrey, Joan Bakewell, Nancy Carroll (II), Kris Marshall, Tom Mannion, Derek Hutchinson, Samuel West, Saira Todd, Juliet Howland, Charlotte Arkwright, Harriet Arkwright and Matilda Allsopp.
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Iris teems with fussy charm and the intimate joy found only in a lover's foibles. Adapted from the memoirs of literary critic John Bayley, the film recounts his courtship of and long marriage to British novelist Iris Murdoch. The scenario tacks back and f... Read More
Iris teems with fussy charm and the intimate joy found only in a lover's foibles. Adapted from the memoirs of literary critic John Bayley, the film recounts his courtship of and long marriage to British novelist Iris Murdoch. The scenario tacks back and forth from the young Iris (Kate Winslet)--ready to seduce one and all with her coy command of words and sex appeal--to the elder Iris (Judi Dench)--slowly giving way to the cruel erasure of Alzheimer's--and it is impossible not to be moved by the film's denouement of loss. Ms. Dench is, as usual, resplendent, tossing off literary quips, knowing glares, and razor-sharp metaphors with graceful ease. The pleasure Murdoch took in what must have been an extraordinary life is palpable every second Dench is onscreen. Jim Broadbent is also especially fine as the elder Bayley, steadfast in devotion and humor. The script, however, is painfully predictable and heavy-handed in its frequent use of symbolism (e.g., sheets of paper flying into the ocean, rocks slipping to the river's bottom). Nevertheless, Iris evokes a passion for learning and intimacy worthy of its subject. --Fionn Meade