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Robert oral on books in the news. A quick look at newly published material and books of current interest. Your host Robert directive for public services at the University of Illinois Library Bruno's dream by Iris Murdoch published by Viking is a 12 book of fiction by the British novelist. Therefore it would seem impossible for her to produce anything different or new and yet conceding that this book is still another variation on her major theme of the varieties of love. This one is a splendidly individual book with a different from and related to her total works. It's been evident in her late works as you can experiment with the form of the conventional novel The unicorn in the Time of Angels were Gothic as the red and the green were historical. But here in Bruno's dream she has discarded the need for parody in a form and has written a novel which like her earlier works has its own shape and form. Naturally it has all the trappings of a more true Murdoch book. Those collections of strange people who act and enter act upon each other in mysterious ways. There is as usual a central focal physical feature usually an unkempt house whose denizens pop in and out of the woodwork to act out their destiny. One suspects if they were someplace else they would quite different people. But no
matter where ever they may reside there are usually prisoners of themselves and of their loved ones. Bruno Greensleeves for example is a prisoner of his dying body. He is in his 90s presumably dying of cancer. His huge bulbous face about the scrawny spindly body shocks those who have not seen him recently. He occupies his time by reading books on spiders where he has been an avid collector and might have been once had he really tried a scholarly writer on spiders. Well these spiders and his inherited stamp collection are all that are left of his life. He has of course his memories and his dreams but the dreams are of death. It's all a dream he thought one goes through life in a dream it's all too hard. Death refutes induction and there is no it. For it to be all about what this kind of night musing frightens him he tries to drown the pain the fantasies with sleeping pills and ducky in touch with goblets of warm champagne each night and from these trappings are just spiders and champagne and dreams your characters come to grips with each other. We learn a great deal about Bruno from his dream as we know that is why Jean who died calling out for him and that
he failed to respond and that she died without his knowing whether she wanted to curse him or to forgive him. And there's his late daughter Gwen who was married to Denby the son in law who kindly provides the care he needs. If we were to know Janie and Gwen directly other than the memories of the Father and son in law we would suspect suspect them to be more examples of the stronger ducking women who dominate their weak males like spiders for example. Yet they do not dominate this book at all their presence is felt throughout the book might be said that Danby is the weak male so common to Murdoch get down to is a great comic character embodies trait and humaneness escapes being just one more in the line of Murdock males miles Reno's son isn't of the fine comic character has for many years waited for the poetic muse to strike and gets quite nasty. We think someone will get between him and the muse. But Miles is passive second wife her sister Liza Bruno's housemate Adelaide the twins that light will and the dark Nigel who is a New York male nurse to rule all participate in the varieties of love which we're not. Mr. Murdoch shoves their way. Some
time someone will surely write a thesis called the twins in the novel of Iris Murdoch where surely she isn't commonly found of them and their psychological problems. Nigel the Dark One twin is given to cosmic fits and to tormenting his brother will delight one in nasty yet very funny ways. The twins are especially helpful when Mr Knox best writing treats she'd like to drop a thunderbolt to the end of one chapter only to shock the reader by still another at the beginning of the next. But her inventiveness is Master Plato perhaps less obvious here than it was in the nice and the good which may well turn out to be my favorite Murdoch Bruno's dream strikes me as more understated more subtly spun up in say a severed head which is so wonderfully violent. This is a muted book as it is it were written in the realm of Bruno's dream that despite its subject of death is a wonderfully comic novel One is tempted to say in the great tradition of the English comic novel except of course Mr. Murdoch does her own comic thing if you like Mr. Murdoch Bruno's dream is just the book. If you don't it might be the book in which you should start. Mr. Murdoch again.
Books in the news as prepared and presented by Robert Ormond sponsored by the Illinois State Library. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
Books in the news
Bruno's Dream
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National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Illinois State Library
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
In program number 383, Robert Orem talks about Irish Murdoch's "Bruno's Dream."
Series Description
A quick look at newly published material and books of current interest.
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Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Producing Organization: Illinois State Library
Speaker: Orem, Robert
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-35d-383 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:04:27
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Chicago: “Books in the news; Bruno's Dream,” 1969-04-22, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
MLA: “Books in the news; Bruno's Dream.” 1969-04-22. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Books in the news; Bruno's Dream. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from