ABSTRACT

Iris Murdoch's novel The Bell (1958) considers the nature of “utopian work”—not simply the kind of work that provides material support for community but rather the kind of “inner” work that reorients individual ethical and political sensibilities, and moves one toward a spiritual maturity that makes frank community with others possible. Drawing from Murdoch's philosophical work, Wagner-Lawlor examines Murdoch's promotion of the “work” that art does in educating our moral sensibilities over the kinds of work (work on the land; intellectual work) her Imber Court communitarians engage in. Murdoch suggests that the real work of utopia is the working of the individual spirit toward an imaginative sympathy that lies at the heart of her conception of a utopian sensibility.

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