Short summary - The Black Prince - Jean Iris Murdoch

British literature summaries -

Short summary - The Black Prince
Jean Iris Murdoch

The text of Bradley Pearson’s book «The Black Prince, or the Feast of Love» is framed by the publisher's foreword and afterword, from which it follows that Bradley Pearson died in prison from transient cancer, which opened shortly after he completed the manuscript. Wanting to restore the friend’s honor and remove the charge of murder from him, the publisher published this «love story - after all, the story of a person’s creative struggles, searches for wisdom and truth is always a love story ... Every artist is an unfortunate lover, and unfortunate lovers love tell your story. "

In his introduction, Bradley Pearson tells about himself: he is fifty-eight years old, he is a writer, although he published only three books: one early romance when he was twenty-five, another one when he was forty, and a small book, «Passages» or « Etudes. " He kept his gift clean, which means, among other things, the lack of literary success. However, his faith in himself and his sense of calling, even doom, did not weaken - having accumulated enough money for a comfortable life, he left the post of tax inspector to write, but he was struck by creative dumbness. "Art has its martyrs, among them the silent people take not the last place." For the summer he rented a house by the sea, thinking that there finally his silence would break.


When Bradley Pearson stood over the packed suitcases, preparing to leave, his ex-brother-in-law Francis Marlo suddenly came to him after many years with the news that his ex-wife Christian was widowed, had returned from America as a rich woman and was hungry for a meeting. Over the years that Bradley did not see him, Francis turned into a fat, rude, red-faced, miserable, slightly wild, slightly crazy, smelling bad loser - he was deprived of his doctor’s diploma for drug fraud, he tried to practice as a «psychoanalyst,» he drank heavily and Now I wanted to get help from Bradley to live with my rich sister at her expense. Bradley had not yet had time to throw him out the door, when Arnold Baffin rang, begging to come to him at once: he killed his wife.

Bradley Pearson is extremely concerned that his description of Baffin be fair, because this whole story is a story of the relationship with him and the tragic denouement to which they led. He, already a notorious writer, discovered Arnold when he, working as a teacher of English literature at school, was just finishing his first novel. Pearson read the manuscript, found a publisher for it, and published a commendable review. From this began one of the most successful literary careers - from a monetary point of view: every year Arnold wrote according to a book, and his products met public tastes; fame and material well-being came their course. It was believed that Bradley Pearson was jealous of Arnold's writing success, although he himself believed that he achieved success by sacrificing art. Their relationship was almost kindred - Pearson was at Arnold's wedding and dined with the Baffins almost every Sunday for twenty-five years; they, the antipodes, were of inexhaustible interest for each other. Arnold was grateful and even betrayed by Bradley, but he was afraid of his trial - perhaps because he himself, who steadily sank to the bottom of literary mediocrity, lived in his soul the same strict judge. And now Pearson is burning a pocket for a review of Arnold’s latest novel, which cannot be called laudatory, and hesitates, unable to decide what to do with it. steadily sinking to the bottom of literary mediocrity, the same strict judge lived in his soul. And now Pearson is burning a pocket for a review of Arnold’s latest novel, which cannot be called laudatory, and hesitates, unable to decide what to do with it. steadily sinking to the bottom of literary mediocrity, the same strict judge lived in his soul. And now Pearson is burning a pocket for a review of Arnold’s latest novel, which cannot be called laudatory, and hesitates, unable to decide what to do with it.

Pearson and Francis (a doctor, although without a diploma, may be useful) go to Arnold. His wife Rachel locked herself in the bedroom and shows no signs of life. She agrees to let Bradley alone; she is beaten, sobbing, accuses her husband that he does not allow her to be herself and live her own life, assures that she will never forgive him, and Bradley will not forgive him for seeing her shame. Inspection of Francis Marlo showed that there is no danger to life and health. Calming down, Arnold told how in the course of a quarrel he accidentally hit her with a poker - it's okay, such scandals are not uncommon in marriage, it is a necessary discharge, «another face of love», and in essence, he and Rachel are a happy married couple. Arnold is keenly interested in Christian returning to London, which Bradley Pearson really didn’t like, who cannot stand gossip and gossip and would like to forget about his failed marriage. On the way home, thinking whether to stay for Sunday lunch so that the Baffin’s natural dislike for the witness would not be fixed and the relationship would be settled, or to flee from London as soon as possible, he saw at dusk a young man in black who, mumbling monotonous spells, threw under wheels of cars are some white petals. Upon closer examination, the young man turned out to be the daughter of the Baffin Julian - she performed a ritual designed to help forget her lover: she tore letters to pieces and scattered them, repeating: Oscar Belling. Bradley knew her from the cradle and had a moderate kindred interest in her: he never wanted his children. Julian greets him and asks to become her teacher, for she wants to write books, and not like her father, but like him, Bradley Pearson. On the way home, thinking whether to stay for Sunday lunch so that the Baffin’s natural dislike for the witness would not be fixed and the relationship would be settled, or to flee from London as soon as possible, he saw at dusk a young man in black who, mumbling monotonous spells, threw under wheels of cars are some white petals. Upon closer examination, the young man turned out to be the daughter of the Baffin Julian - she performed a ritual designed to help forget her lover: she tore letters to pieces and scattered them, repeating: Oscar Belling. Bradley knew her from the cradle and had a moderate kindred interest in her: he never wanted his children. Julian greets him and asks to become her teacher, for she wants to write books, and not like her father, but like him, Bradley Pearson. On the way home, thinking whether to stay for Sunday lunch so that the Baffin’s natural dislike for the witness would not be fixed and the relationship would be settled, or to flee from London as soon as possible, he saw at dusk a young man in black who, mumbling monotonous spells, threw under wheels of cars are some white petals. Upon closer examination, the young man turned out to be the daughter of the Baffin Julian - she performed a ritual designed to help forget her lover: she tore letters to pieces and scattered them, repeating: Oscar Belling. Bradley knew her from the cradle and had a moderate kindred interest in her: he never wanted his children. Julian greets him and asks to become her teacher, for she wants to write books, and not like her father, but like him, Bradley Pearson. so that the Baffin’s natural dislike for the witness would not be fixed and the relationship settled, or to escape from London as soon as possible, he saw at dusk a young man in black who, muttering monotonous spells, threw some white petals under the wheels of cars. Upon closer examination, the young man turned out to be the daughter of the Baffin Julian - she performed a ritual designed to help forget her lover: she tore letters to pieces and scattered them, repeating: Oscar Belling. Bradley knew her from the cradle and had a moderate kindred interest in her: he never wanted his children. Julian greets him and asks to become her teacher, for she wants to write books, and not like her father, but like him, Bradley Pearson. so that the Baffin’s natural dislike for the witness would not be fixed and the relationship settled, or to escape from London as soon as possible, he saw at dusk a young man in black who, muttering monotonous spells, threw some white petals under the wheels of cars. Upon closer examination, the young man turned out to be the daughter of the Baffin Julian - she performed a ritual designed to help forget her lover: she tore letters to pieces and scattered them, repeating: Oscar Belling. Bradley knew her from the cradle and had a moderate kindred interest in her: he never wanted his children. Julian greets him and asks to become her teacher, for she wants to write books, and not like her father, but like him, Bradley Pearson. threw some white petals under the wheels of cars. Upon closer examination, the young man turned out to be the daughter of the Baffin Julian - she performed a ritual designed to help forget her lover: she tore letters to pieces and scattered them, repeating: Oscar Belling. Bradley knew her from the cradle and had a moderate kindred interest in her: he never wanted his children. Julian greets him and asks to become her teacher, for she wants to write books, and not like her father, but like him, Bradley Pearson. threw some white petals under the wheels of cars. Upon closer examination, the young man turned out to be the daughter of the Baffin Julian - she performed a ritual designed to help forget her lover: she tore letters to pieces and scattered them, repeating: Oscar Belling. Bradley knew her from the cradle and had a moderate kindred interest in her: he never wanted his children. Julian greets him and asks to become her teacher, for she wants to write books, and not like her father, but like him, Bradley Pearson.

The next day, Bradley decided to leave anyway, but as soon as he picked up his suitcases, his fifty-two-year-old sister Priscilla rang the bell — she had left her husband and had nowhere to go. Priscilla is hysterical; tears of regret over ruined life and the abandoned mink stole pour in; when Bradley went out to put the kettle on, she drinks all of her sleeping pills. Bradley is in a panic; Francis Marlowe comes, and then Baffins as a whole family. When Priscilla is taken away by an ambulance car, Rachel says that Christian was also here, but, considering the moment for meeting her ex-husband unfavorable, she left, accompanied by Arnold, «into the tavern».

Priscilla was discharged from the hospital that evening. There is no question of leaving immediately; and Bradley is confronted with the Christian problem. He perceives the ex-wife as the unchanging demon of his life and decides that if Arnold and Christian make friends, he will sever relations with Arnold. And having met with Christian, he repeats that he does not want to see her. Succumbing to Priscilla's entreaties, Bradley goes to Bristol for her things, where she meets with her husband Roger; he asks for a divorce in order to marry his long-time mistress Marigold - they are expecting a child. Feeling his sister’s pain and resentment as their own, Bradley, drunk, smashes Priscilla’s beloved vase and lingers strongly in Bristol; then Christian takes Priscilla, left in the care of Rachel, to himself. This leads Bradley into a frenzy, all the more so since he’s to blame: «I won’t give you my sister, so you feel sorry and humiliate her here. » Rachel takes him away to console and feed him dinner and tells how Arnold and Christian became very close. She offers Bradley to start an affair with her, having entered into an alliance against them, convinces that an affair with her can help his creative work. Rachel's kiss reinforces his emotional turmoil, and he gives her to read his review of Arnold’s novel, and in the evening gets drunk with Francis Marlowe, who, interpreting Freud’s situation, explains that Bradley and Arnold love each other, are obsessed with each other and that Bradley considers himself writer only in order to identify with the subject of love, that is, Arnold. However, he quickly retreats to Bradley's objections and confesses that he is actually a homosexual - he himself, Francis Marlowe. how much Arnold and Christian came together. She offers Bradley to start an affair with her, having entered into an alliance against them, convinces that an affair with her can help his creative work. Rachel's kiss reinforces his emotional turmoil, and he gives her to read his review of Arnold’s novel, and in the evening gets drunk with Francis Marlowe, who, interpreting Freud’s situation, explains that Bradley and Arnold love each other, are obsessed with each other and that Bradley considers himself writer only in order to identify with the subject of love, that is, Arnold. However, he quickly retreats to Bradley's objections and confesses that he is actually a homosexual - he himself, Francis Marlowe. how much Arnold and Christian came together. She offers Bradley to start an affair with her, having entered into an alliance against them, convinces that an affair with her can help his creative work. Rachel's kiss reinforces his emotional turmoil, and he gives her to read his review of Arnold’s novel, and in the evening gets drunk with Francis Marlowe, who, interpreting Freud’s situation, explains that Bradley and Arnold love each other, are obsessed with each other and that Bradley considers himself writer only in order to identify with the subject of love, that is, Arnold. However, he quickly retreats to Bradley's objections and confesses that he is actually a homosexual - he himself, Francis Marlowe. Rachel's kiss reinforces his emotional turmoil, and he gives her to read his review of Arnold’s novel, and in the evening gets drunk with Francis Marlowe, who, interpreting Freud’s situation, explains that Bradley and Arnold love each other, are obsessed with each other and that Bradley considers himself writer only in order to identify with the subject of love, that is, Arnold. However, he quickly retreats to Bradley's objections and confesses that he is actually a homosexual - he himself, Francis Marlowe. Rachel's kiss reinforces his emotional turmoil, and he gives her to read his review of Arnold’s novel, and in the evening gets drunk with Francis Marlowe, who, interpreting Freud’s situation, explains that Bradley and Arnold love each other, are obsessed with each other and that Bradley considers himself writer only in order to identify with the subject of love, that is, Arnold. However, he quickly retreats to Bradley's objections and confesses that he is actually a homosexual - he himself, Francis Marlowe.

Rachel, steadily carrying out her plan for an alliance-romance, puts Bradley in his bed, which ends anecdotally: a husband has come. Running away from the bedroom without socks, Bradley meets Julian and, wanting to formulate a request to formulate a request not to tell anyone about this meeting, buys her purple boots, and in the process of trying on when looking at Julian's legs, his belated physical desire catches up with him.

Having come to visit Priscilla, Bradley from a conversation with Christian learns that Rachel complained to Arnold of his harassment; and Christian herself invites him to recall their marriage, to analyze the mistakes of that time and to reconnect again in a new spiral.

Unsettled by the rushing memories of the past and recent events, tormented by an acute need to sit at the desk, once attached to Priscilla, Bradley forgets about the invitation to a party arranged in his honor by former employees, and forgets about his promise to talk with Julian about «Hamlet "; when she arrives on the appointed day and time, he cannot hide his surprise. Nevertheless, he offhand gives a brilliant lecture, and after conducting it, he suddenly realizes that he is in love. It was a blow, and he knocked Bradley down. Realizing that recognition is out of the question, he is happy with his secret love. «I have cleansed myself of anger and hatred; I had to live and love alone, and this consciousness made me almost a god ... I knew that the black Eros, who overtook me, was consubstantial with another, more secret god. " He gives the impression of a blissful: Gives Rachel everything you can buy at a paper station; puts up with Christian; gives Francis five pounds and orders the complete works of Arnold Baffin to re-read all his novels and find in them virtues not seen before. He almost did not pay attention to the letter of Arnold, in which he talks about his relationship with Christian and his intention to live in two families, for which he asks Rachel to prepare. But the rapture of the first days is replaced by the pangs of love; Bradley does what he shouldn't; Julian reveals her feelings. And she replies that she loves him too. in which he talks about his relationship with Christian and his intention to live in two families, for which he asks Rachel to prepare. But the rapture of the first days is replaced by the pangs of love; Bradley does what he shouldn't; Julian reveals her feelings. And she replies that she loves him too. in which he talks about his relationship with Christian and his intention to live in two families, for which he asks Rachel to prepare. But the rapture of the first days is replaced by the pangs of love; Bradley does what he shouldn't; Julian reveals her feelings. And she replies that she loves him too.

Twenty-year-old Julian sees no other way of developing events than to declare his love to parents and get married. The reaction of the parents is immediate: locking it with a key and breaking the telephone wire, they come to Bradley and demand that their daughter be left alone; from their point of view, the lustful old man’s passion for a young girl can only be explained by madness.

The next day, Julian escapes from under the castle; musing frantically where to hide from the righteous anger of the Baffins, Bradley recalls the Patara villa, leaves Priscilla, who had fled from Christian, at Francis Marlo, and, after literally stretching her arms at Arnold’s door for a second, rents a car and takes Julian away.

Their idyll is broken by a telegram from Francis. Without telling Julian about her, Bradley contacts him by phone: Priscilla committed suicide. When he returned from the post office, Julian meets him in a costume of Hamlet: she wanted to arrange a surprise, recalling the beginning of their love. Having never told her about Priscilla’s death, he finally takes possession of her for the first time - «we didn’t belong to ourselves ... It's rock.»

Arnold arrives at Patara at night. He wants to take his daughter away, he is horrified that she does not know either about Priscilla’s death, or Bradley’s true age, passes her a letter from her mother. Julian stays with Bradley, but waking up in the morning, he discovers that she is not.

After Priscilla’s funeral, Bradley lies in bed for days and waits for Julian, not letting anyone in. He makes an exception only for Rachel - she knows where Julian is. He learned from Rachel what was in the letter brought by Arnold: there she described "her connection with Bradley" (this was Arnold's idea). It seems that she came only to say: «I thought that it was clear to you that everything was in order in my family life,» Bradley absentmindedly picks up Arnold’s letter of intent to live in two families, and at that moment the doorbell rings, bringing the collected works of Arnold Baffin. Rachel managed to read the letter - with a wild cry that she would never forgive Bradley, she was running away.

Bradley tears the books he brought with fury.

A letter from Julian comes from France. Bradley immediately got on the road; Francis Marlo leaves for tickets.

Rachel calls and asks to come to her immediately, promising to tell where Julian is; Bradley rides. Rachel killed Arnold with the same poker that he had hit her at one time. Bradley Pearson is accused of the murder - everything is against him: Rachel's cold-blooded testimony, tattered collected works, tickets abroad ...

In an afterword, Bradley Pearson writes that Rachel’s most powerful senses surprised him. As for the allegations - «I could not justify myself in court. «Finally, my own, quite weighty cross was waiting for me ... They don’t throw such things.»

The book is completed by the four afterwords of four characters.


Afterword Christian: she claims that it was she who left Bradley, for he could not provide her with a life worthy of her, and when she returned from America, he molested her, and that he was clearly crazy: considers himself happy, although in fact unhappy. And why is there so much noise around art? But for people like Bradley, that's just what they do.

Afterword by Francis Marlowe: He sophisticatedly proves that Bradley Pearson was homosexual and had a fondness for him.

Afterword Rachel: she writes that the book is false from the first to the last word, that Bradley was in love with her, which is why he invented an unprecedented passion for her daughter (object substitution and ordinary revenge), and that she sincerely sympathizes with the crazy woman.

Afterword Julian, who became a poet and Mrs. Belling, is an elegant essay on art. About the events described, there are only three short phrases: «... it was love, not subject to words. According to him, anyway. As an artist, he failed. »