How To Tell If You Are In An Iris Murdoch Novel -The Toast

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Have you found your heart swelling with a miasma of unidentifiable but vaguely exciting new emotions? Did you draw the heavy velveteen curtains against dusk’s dense and thrilling fog just now? You may be a character in a novel by prolific Irish-born British novelist Iris Murdoch. Please investigate your surroundings for the following items to determine whether or not you are part of a constellation of intellectuals trapped in a midcentury melodrama investigating the vagaries of the human condition.

1. Meissen cockatoos. Are you arranging them on the mantelpiece?

2. Cox’s Orange Pippins. Or a memory of Cox’s Orange Pippins. If you do not realize immediately that this is a type of apple, you are probably not in an Iris Murdoch novel.

3. Powerful claret and lots and lots of it and also whiskey and you’re drunk and where’s some more, be a peach and bring us a bottle, won’t you?

4. Your friends have names that sound like Dristan, Climate or Privy.

5. You suddenly prefer the 17th century term “counterpane” to the outrageously modern “bedspread.” Just say “bedspread.”

6. The novelty of electric light is not lost on you

7. Someone you know has died in a tragic and semi-ironic manner that was so very appropriate to their personality. Think about them now. Care for a drink?

8. Your furniture has proper names.

9. You are drunker than you realize.

10. Really drunk.

Lexie Mountain is an artist, musician, writer and comedian living in Baltimore, MD. She can be found working towards an MFA in performance and video at UMBC's IMDA Program, researching lobsters in art and culture, poking about on Twitter, or reviewing concerts of popular music for the Baltimore Sun's Midnight Sun Blog. She's an erstwhile contributor to Motherboard, founder of the all-female a cappella Lexie Mountain Boys and one-half of stand-up tragedy duo Martin & Lawrence with Ric Royer.

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