Iris murdoch "the black prince"

Iris Murdoch
The Black Prince
Editor's Foreword

I am in more than one way responsible for the work that follows. The author of it, my friend Bradley Pearson, has placed the arrangements for publication in my hands. In this humble mechanical sense it is through my agency that these pages now reach the public. I am also the«dear friend» (and such) who is referred to and at times addressed in the book. I am not however an actor in the drama which Pearson recounts. My friendship with Bradley Pearson dates from a time in our lives posterior to the events here narrated. This has been a time of tribulation when we needed and happily found in each other the blessings of friendship. I can say indeed with confidence that were it not for the encouragement and sympathy which I was able to give to Bradley, this story would probably have remained untold. Those who cry out the truth to an indifferent world too often weary, fall silent or come to doubt their own wit. Without my help this could have been so with Bradley Pearson. He needed someone to believe him and someone to believe in him. He found me, his alter ego, at the time needful.
What follows is in its essence as well as in its contour a love story. I mean that it is deeply as well as superficially so. Man's creative struggle, his search for wisdom and truth, is a love story. What follows is ambiguous and sometimes tortuously told. Man's searchings and his strugglings are ambiguous and vowed to hidden ways. Those who live by that dark light will understand. And yet: what can be simpler than a tale of love and more charming? That art gives charm to terrible things is perhaps its glory, perhaps its curse. Art is a doom. It has been the doom of Bradley Pearson. And in a quite different way it is my own.


P. Loxias editor
Bradley Pearson's Foreword


I am aware that people often have completely distorted general ideas of what they are like. Men truly manifest themselves in the long patterns of their acts, and not in any nutshell of self-theory. This is supremely true of the artist, who appears, however much he may imagine that he hides, in the revealed extension of his work. And so am I too here exhibited, whose pitiful instinct is alas still for a concealment quite at odds with my trade. Under this cautionary rubric I shall however now attempt a general description of myself. And now I am speaking, as I explained, in the persona of the self of several years ago, the often inglorious«hero» of the tale that follows. I am fifty-eight years old. I am a writer. «A writer» is indeed the simplest and also the most accurate general description of me. In so far as I am also a psychologist, an amateur philosopher, a student of human affairs, I am so because these things are a part of being the kind of writer that I am. I have always been a seeker. And my seeking has taken the form of that attempt to tell truth of which I have just spoken. I have, I hope and I believe, kept my gift pure. This means, among other things, that I have never been a successful writer. I have never tried to please at the expense of truth. I have known, for long periods, the torture of a life without self-expression. The most potent and sacred command which can be laid upon any artist is the command: wait. Art has its martyrs, not least those who have preserved their silence.