Born in 1919, Iris Murdoch became a philosopher and, later, a much read and noted novelist. She was a Communist Party member at Oxford in the 1938 to 1942 period and, as claimed to have considered herself a Communist from the age of thirteen, though this was a characteristically imprecise observation. In the 1950s, she appears to have been involved to some degree, possibly on the fringes and more in a social setting, in the Communist Party’s Cultural Committee activities in London.
Her role in this period, at least by internal Party anecdote, in influencing a new generation of working class writers, mostly novelists, who were being nurtured by the Party was considered quite negative in that her conception of liberation in the life of creative artists was said to be restricted to their own comfort and livelihood.
Few such writers returned to work in the industries they came from, having once encountered what passed for a sophisticated literary set focused on London. In later years, Murdoch resorted to a negative view, not just of the scope of working class life, but also to the very endeavours of associated movements and assumed a studied anti-communism.
Independent 10th February 1999 and other sources