• The Black Prince

  • Vintage Classics Murdoch Series
  • By: Iris Murdoch
  • Narrated by: Anthony Howell
  • Length: 18 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Vintage Classics Murdoch: Funny, subversive, fearless and fiercely intelligent, Iris Murdoch was one of the great writers of the 20th century. To celebrate her centenary, Vintage Classics presents special editions of her greatest and most timeless novels.

Every artist is an unhappy lover. And unhappy lovers want to tell their story.

Ex-tax collector and author of two unpopular novels, Bradley Pearson wishes to devote his retirement to writing a masterpiece. But the doorbell and the phone keep ringing and every ring brings with it an ex-wife, a friend in need, a sister in trouble or a young woman seeking a teacher and so dusty, selfish Bradley is plunged into the muddles and mysteries which will end in his doom.

Winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize 1973.

©1973 Iris Murdoch (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Black Prince

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not her best work

For much of its course, to draw a theatre comparison, this novel from the 1970s is a Shaftesbury Avenue comedy for the high minded. Misadventures and misalighnments proliferate as a ship of earnest fools sets out on a voyage to journey the sea of love.

Interesting and entertaining, and so far so good. Then the philosopher in Murdoch takes over in devising the progress to an end and dry wit morphs into dry waffle and the ship is beached.

Worth a listen, as it is beautifully read, but not the author's best.

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  • GalenSolon
  • 04-29-20

Great

Thanks Excellent narration and a great book With a unique structure. I strongly recommend it.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-22-21

Hard work in places, but very rewarding

The reading is full of inaccuracies, some of them quite serious. Too often Anthony Howell simply doesn't read what the author wrote. Just two examples: "There is no doubt that she had the misfortune to represent to him also the shop, that stale interior, symbolic of the rejected womb of a socially inferior mother." In place of 'symbolic' he reads 'shambolic', which makes no sense! He makes nonsense of the quotation from 'Othello': Othello says of his love for Desdemona, "If I love her not, chaos is come again". The Audible reading gives us, "If I love her, not chaos is come again". Oh please! Is this really the best Audible can do for Dame Iris Murdoch?

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Arty1
  • 09-25-20

Reliability of the narrator

Enjoyed this fifth audio Murdoch novel for Murdoch's usual scathing insight into the human condition and philosophical enquiry. However, I found my enjoyment marred by the audio narration by Anthony Howell. He narrated as if he was a coach tour guide giving information about the interesting sights. Perhaps his tone of voice was not to my personal taste, but his deep burr felt out of keeping with the story. His rendering of the dialogue was a lot better and I was able to imagine the characters. But I was somewhat glad to reach the end of this audio book and that is an exceptional experience for me using audio books.

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  • richard W
  • 02-07-21

Challenging, fascinating and disturbing

This book is like a time capsule from early 1970's middle-class literally life which is interesting. It's structure is unusual (to me at least) and contains a really complex dislikable central character who has difficulty and sometimes hard to believe relationships with everyone in this life, particularly females. I found it very tough to get through to times as its hard to root or empathise with any characters. My conclusion is that Murdoch is a bit too highbrow for me, its clever but too close to smug and pretentious in the same way Martin Amis can be. Just tell us a good story...

Brilliant narration btw

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  • Linda
  • 08-07-22

Fantastic ending.

Excellent narrator. Quality of writing mostly great but a little overblown and heavy at times

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  • Graham Asher
  • 12-04-21

Murdoch’s Lolita

A middle-aged man falls obsessively in love with a girl on the threshold of womanhood, after a tangle of desires and repulsions involving the other characters has already been established. Nobody quite knows what they want, and any certainty is revealed as delusion. The plot is farcical and by turns comedic and tragic. The main narrator and the other minor ones all seem to be unreliable. The story follows the classic arc of tragedy and ends in nemesis but not necessarily self knowledge. I enjoyed listening to this audio book immensely, having forgotten everything from my first reading of the book about forty years ago

Anthony Howell’s reading is competent and not jarring, with the exception of a number of mispronunciations that ought to have been corrected, as for instance the use of the French ‘hommage’ for the English ‘homage’. That is a recent affectation and detracts from the sense of period.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-29-21

Story in Story the truth is not clear but probably

i loved hearing it its a Pagen turner while also poetic and analysing art

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  • Mrs. H. E. Bacon
  • 05-14-21

well read, in every sense, thanks to the narrator.

the reading conveys a wonderful sense of the characters, by a versatile and sympathetic actor