Monday, 14 June 2010

The sea and Iris Murdoch

I grew up in a town about a 40 minute bike ride from the sea. Although it was so close, I didn't go there that often. I'm not a beach-person, and I don't like busy places. But sometimes, when it's not that hot, when it's late in the evening, there's nothing more relaxing and comforting than the sea. This is perhaps strange, because the sea is not necessarily calm, it is vast and uncontrollable, it could and would easily kill me. But I love the sea, I love wading in it, I love staring at it, I love dissapearing in the face of such great water.

I think that part of my love for Iris Murdoch comes from my love of the sea. The sea, or at least water, is a bit of a leitmotif in quite a few of her books, and her descriptions really resonate with me. Here are my two favourite examples;

“She came down to the edge of the sea, stepping into the strong running foam. The sea now seemed to be above her, a ragged wall of grey sliding curves and boiling white crests. A cold light as of its own making hung over the sea, a mist of instantly dissolving spray caught by some dull gleam from the rain-filled sky above. Not far out now, the tall weaves were breaking with a reocious booming sound, smashing themselves into the curling racing waters which rushed forward and as wildly receded.” (The Green Knight)

"The sea is golden, speckled with white points of light, lapping with a sort of mechanical self-satisfaction under a pale green sky. How huge it is, how empty, this great space for which I have been longing all my life." (The Sea, The Sea)

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