Obituary: Iris Murdoch

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The Independent Culture
MAY I add a note to your obituary of Iris Murdoch [by Paul Levy, 10 February]? writes Robin E. Waterfield. I first met her when she was in London just after the Second World War and writing poetry, some of which was published by my friend Tambimuttu in the magazine Poetry London. They were good friends and we all used to meet in a pub in Oxford Street also frequented by poets as various as Sir John Waller and Roy Campbell.

I renewed my acquaintance with her much later when I opened a bookshop in Oxford. She found out that I was a practising Christian and wrote to me of her own beliefs, saying that she was "either a Christian Buddhist or a Buddhist Christian", she was not quite sure which.

Later she agreed to meet a schizophrenic working-class girl, Sarah-Anne Maw, whose poems I had published. Both Iris and Anne Ridler attended the little launch party we had, and Iris and Sarah-Anne sat chatting happily together. Iris was unfailingly kind and helpful and seemed to find time for all who called for help.

Later I had the pleasure of arranging for her to meet Professor John Macquarrie and Bishop Rowan Williams, who told her that the Church of England would survive, which seemed to reassure her.

Her deep interest in religion and her kindness should not be forgotten.