John Bayley Celebration

John Bayley Celebration

A celebration of the Life of John Bayley was held on Monday, 9th November, in the Bernard Sunley Lecture Theatre at St Catherine’s.

Over 50 Fellows, colleagues and former students came together to share memories of the former English tutor at New College, who moved to St Catherine’s in 1974 as the first Warton Professor of English Literature.

As an academic, Bayley made his name as a literary critic and a specialist in Pushkin and Goethe. Former students remembered Bayley for instilling in them a lasting delight in literature as a way of engaging with the world.

However, outside of academic circles, Bayley was arguably more well-known for the trilogy of memoirs he published about his former wife, Iris Murdoch. His first book, Iris: A Memoir, published in 1998, shortly before her death, became an unexpected bestseller, and in 2001, it was made into a film by Richard Eyre, starring Kate Winslet, Dame Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent.