Iris Murdoch on reading Homer aloud to oneself on the underground

I’ve been reading Living on Paper: Letters from Iris Murdoch edited by Avril Horner and Anne Rowl. Murdoch’s letter show the same fierce intelligence as her novels, there are so many moments of delightful weirdness and unapologetic bookishness that I am enjoying the book very much, particularly for the “I’m clearly crazy as a bedbug” asides in the letters, written in language simply bouncing with energy and intelligence, such as:


(I am going to the zoo this afternoon, chiefly to see the zebras–I have an intense occult passion for zebras)

Who doesn’t have an intense occult passion for zebras, I ask you?

In the same letter as the zebra discussion comes this little gem, which in my tendency to copy people I admire may lead me to become decidedly unpopular on the Expo Line:

I haven’t written anything since Schools–or even read very much, except a little Proust and some poetry (my latest pastime is reading Homer aloud in the underground. There is such a racket that non one can hear you–and the hexameter goes very well with the rhythm of the train.)

Charming on multiple fronts: reading Homer, aloud, train.