The Life of John Middleton Murry

The Life of John Middleton Murry

The Life of John Middleton Murry

The Life of John Middleton Murry

Excerpt

The "Offical Biography" is suspect -- rightly. Appointed by the literary executors of the deceased, inhibited by the scruples of his relatives, friends and 'others still living', the author is not expected to produce more than a faint outline -- a bas- relief at best, and that so draped in fig-leaves as rather to pique the reader's curiosity than appease it. This being the official biography of John Middleton Murry, inasmuch as it was commissioned by his widow and elder son, it may be as well to set my cards on the table at the outset.

When, in April 1957, Mrs Middleton Murry first suggested to me that, as a friend of some twenty years' standing, I should write her husband's life, I felt it to be an honour and privilege. I still do. Because I did, I was daunted, both by the responsibility itself and by fears lest I should be prevented from discharging it loyally by deference to others' wishes. My fears proved groundless. Few biographers, official or otherwise, can ever have been treated to such generous consideration and co-operation on the part of family and friends alike. From the day I agreed to the suggestion, Mrs Murry herself placed unreservedly at my disposal all the relevant documents in her possession -- books, manuscripts, letters, diaries; while Miss Ruth Baker, Mr Murry's former secretary, was tireless in seeking out papers that would otherwise have been overlooked. Whatever merit this book may have -- and its chief merit must lie in the material drawn from these sources -- is due to them above all.

Out of respect for what appears to have been one of Murry's own last expressed wishes, I have refrained from citing the material in his journals relating to his tragic third marriage. I have also withheld the names of some half-dozen persons referred to in the narrative. I do not think that these reservations affect its veracity: and they are the only ones.

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