London: Chatto & Windus, 1964. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher's teal cloth, spine gilt, original illustrated dust jacket.
"The extreme beauty of the scene put me into an instant trance. It was always a trick of my nature to be subject to these sudden enchantments of the visible world...Beauty is such self-forgetting." First edition of Anglo-Irish novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch’s eighth novel. The Gothic drama, which revolves around the narrator’s return to his dreary childhood town after the death of his manipulative and destructive mother, was a departure from the Platonic playfulness of Murdoch's earliest works. Although the book was relatively unsuccessful upon publication, it has since been reappraised as one of her more remarkable early novels. A stage adaptation by prolific playwright James Saunders in collaboration with Murdoch premiered at the Bristol Old Vic in 1967. Dust jacket and two wood-engraved vignettes designed by British wood engraver and type designer Reynolds Stone; author photo to rear panel by his wife, noted photographer Janet Stone. Unclipped dust jacket with some chipping to spine-ends and flap folds, rubbing to joints, and soiling to rear panel. Very good. Item #5865