Nicola Holt

Interested in

Iris Murdoch



I am currently in the final year of studying for a PhD at the University of Oxford. My research is looking at the way two hybrid novelist-philosophers of the twentieth century, Iris Murdoch and Simone de Beauvoir, conceived of literature as philosophers and how they pictured it in relation to philosophy. My research focuses on their theoretical ideas. In exploring these ideas, I am particularly interested in:

(a)  the metaphors they used as philosophers to communicate their ideas on literature;
(b)  the reasons they both held prose literature to be an especially valuable art form;
(c)  what made literary prose distinctive for them;
(d)  how their knowledge and love of other languages played a part in shaping their  ideas in this area.

I have a keen interest in the work of Susanne Langer too. After my PhD, I hope to  prepare a study comparing the thinking of Iris Murdoch and Susanne Langer. As a separate project, I am aiming to write a paper exploring the relevance of the Japanese concept of ma in Murdoch's conception of art.

Before starting my PhD I worked in the UK and in Brussels as a legislative drafter and juriste linguiste. My original undergraduate degree at Oxford was in Modern Languages (French and German) and more recently I did a Masters in Translation at the University of Exeter where I specialised in literary translation and translated work by, among others, Simone de Beauvoir and Hélène Cixous.

Conference papers:

‘Reflections on Murdoch’s Great Hall of Reflection’ presented at The Tenth International Iris Murdoch Conference: Place and Space, 24-26 June 2022



London, England, United Kingdom

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