Best known as the author of 26 novels, Iris Murdoch was also an accomplished essayist and critic who taught philosophy for many years at Oxford University. This work gathers for the first time in one volume her most influential essays and shorter pieces. Included are her major critiques of existentialism written in the 1950s, her two Platonic dialogues on art and religion, incisive evaluations of the writings of T.S. Eliot, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Simone de Bauvoir, and Elias Canetti, as well as key texts on the continuing importance of the sublime, on the concept of love, and of the role great literature can play in curing the ills of philosophy. This volume confirms Iris Murdoch's major contributions to the literature and thought of the 20th century.