Moral Development, Friendship and Self-deception in Dame Margaret Drabble’s The Millstone

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding


Dame Margaret Drabble’s The Millstone can profitably be read as shedding light on personal identity and moral development as well as how these connect to contemporary society, history, friendship, self-knowledge and self-deception in a way that ought to be of interest to classic perfectionist theories, i.e. ethical theories that develop an account of ethics informed by an account of the good human life understood in terms of the development of human nature. This essay deals with the role of literature in moral development, the benefits of first person narration, and Drabble’s historicism and its consequences for moral development and the metaphysics of the person. Furthermore I provide an Aristotelian reading of the role that friendship plays in gaining self-knowledge in the narrative while taking into account the protagonist’s self-deception, which, I argue, is of importance in understanding personal development that is approaching but not yet nearing self-realisation. This last part is again interpreted along Aristotelian lines by relating it to the virtue of magnanimity.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Philosophy


  • Margaret Drabble, Moral Development, Friendship, self-realization, Historicism, Magnanimity, Aristotle
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch
EventGraduate Workshop on Fiction and Philosophy, 2016 - Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Duration: 2016 Apr 142016 Apr 15


WorkshopGraduate Workshop on Fiction and Philosophy, 2016
Internet address