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About the book
  • Published: 6 January 1987
  • ISBN: 9780140024760
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $26.99

The Unicorn




A brilliant mythical drama about well-meaning people trapped in a war of spiritual forces

Marian Taylor, who has come as a “companion” to a lovely woman in a remote castle, becomes aware that her employer is a prisoner, not only of her obsessions, but of an unforgiving husband.

Hannah, the Unicorn, seemingly an image of persecuted virtue, fascinates those who surround her, some of whom plan to rescue her from her dream of redemptive suffering. But is she an innocent victim, a guilty woman, a mad woman, or a witch? Is her spiritual life really some evil enchantment? If she is forcibly liberated will she die? The ordinary, sensible people survive, and are never sure whether they have understood.

  • Pub date: 6 January 1987
  • ISBN: 9780140024760
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $26.99

About the Author

Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin in 1919. She read Classics at Somerville College, Oxford, and after working in the Treasury and abroad, was awarded a research studentship in philosophy at Newnham College, Cambridge. In 1948 she returned to Oxford as fellow and tutor at St Anne’s College and later taught at the Royal College of Art. Until her death in 1999, she lived in Oxford with her husband, the academic and critic, John Bayley. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1987 and in the 1997 PEN Awards received the Gold Pen for Distinguished Service to Literature.

Iris Murdoch made her writing debut in 1954 with Under the Net. Her twenty-six novels include the Booker prize-winning The Sea, The Sea (1978), the James Tait Black Memorial prize-winning The Black Prince (1973) and the Whitbread prize-winning The Sacred and Profane Love Machine (1974). Her philosophy includes Sartre: Romantic Rationalist (1953) and Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals (1992); other philosophical writings, including The Sovereignty of Good (1970), are collected in Existentialists and Mystics (1997).

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Praise for The Unicorn

““Miss Murdoch has taken the stock elements of the Gothic novel and wrung hell out of them. . . . A strange combination of fairy tale and blood-and-thunder.”—Books and Bookmen”


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