C&W snaps up 'ground-breaking' Iris Murdoch tale in five-way auction

C&W snaps up 'ground-breaking' Iris Murdoch tale in five-way auction

Vintage imprint Chatto & Windus has triumphed in a five-way UK auction to snap up “ground-breaking” non-fiction title The Quartet, based on the lives of philosophers Iris Murdoch, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgley and Elizabeth Anscombe. 

Clara Farmer and Becky Hardie acquired UK & Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights from Zoë Waldie at RCW. Executive editor Kris Puopolo acquired North American rights from Melanie Jackson, on behalf of Waldie, for Doubleday, Penguin Random House. 

Slated for publication in spring 2022, The Quartet, by academics Dr Clare Mac Cumhaill and Dr Rachael Wiseman, is a work of narrative history, biography and philosophy that tells the story of Murdoch, Foot, Midgley and Anscombe and “examines the place of women in 20th century philosophy and is a call to arms for the present day”, said the publisher. 

Farmer and Hardie said: “In bringing these women and their ideas to us in the 21st century, Mac Cumhaill and Wiseman are giving us the chance to take the Quartet’s ideas and apply them to our own lives and world. It brings philosophy back to the fore at a time when big, moral issues are so heavily on our minds again.”

Deals have closed in nine territories to date: UK: Chatto & Windus (auction): US: Doubleday (auction); France: Flammarion (pre-empt); Germany: C.H. Beck (auction); Israel: offer; Italy: Mondadori (pre-empt); The Netherlands: Ambo Anthos (pre-empt); Spain:Anagrama (auction); Sweden: Natur och Kultur.

The deal comes as C&W marks Murdoch’s centenary year. Vintage Classics is reissuing six of her novels to highlight her work as a trailblazing, intelligent writer with plenty to contribute to current conversations about feminism and gender relations, and to seek out a new generation of readers for her books.