A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch

By Iris Murdoch

Martin believes he can own either a gorgeous spouse and a pleasant lover. but if his spouse, Antonia, unexpectedly leaves him for her psychoanalyst, Martin is plunged into a thorough emotional re-education. He makes an attempt to act fantastically and sensibly. Then he meets a girl whose demonic splendour first and foremost repels him and later arouses a eating and massive ardour. How will he live on it?

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I propos'd some reasonable alterations in their chappel laws, and carried them against all opposition. , three half-pence. This was a more comfortable as well as cheaper breakfast, and kept their heads clearer. Those who continued sotting with beer all day, were often, by not paying, out of credit at the alehouse, and us'd to make interest with me to get beer; their light, as they phrased it, being out. I watch'd the pay-table on Saturday night, and collected what I stood engag'd for them, having to pay sometimes near thirty shillings a 5 4 "A printing-house is always called a chapel by the workmen, the origin of which appears to have been that printing was first carried on in England in an ancient chapel converted into a printing-house, and the title has been preserved by tradition.

He entered into conversation with me while I took some refreshment, and, finding I had read a little, became very sociable and friendly. Our acquaintance continu'd as long as he liv'd. He had been, I imagine, an itinerant doctor, for there was no town in England, or country in Europe, of which he could not give a very particular account. He had some letters, and was ingenious, but much of an unbeliever, and wickedly undertook, some years after, to travestie the Bible in doggrel verse, as Cotton had done Virgil.

This, however, was not then of much consequence, as he was totally unable; and in the loss of his friendship I found myself relieved from a burthen. I now began to think of getting a little money before­ hand, and, expecting better work, I left Palmer's to work at Watts's, near Lincoln's Inn Fields, a still greater printing-house. Here I continued all the rest of my stay in London. At my first admission into this printing-house I took to working at press, imagining I felt a want of the bodily exercise I had been us'd to in America, where presswork is mix'd with composing.

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