Front cover 'I hugely enjoyed it.' Mary Warnock Front flap (continued on back flap if necessary) 'Charming, interesting, thought-provoking and a great read.' Rosalind Hursthouse The daughter of a pacifist rector who answered 'No!' when his congregation asked him 'Is everything in the bible true?',perhaps Mary Midgley was destined to become a philosopher. Yet few would have thought this inquisitive, untidy, nature-loving child would become 'one of the sharpest critical pens in the west.' This is her remarkable story. Probably the only philosopher to have been in Vienna on the eve of its invasion by Nazi Germany in 1938 and dance in Trafalgar Square on VE day seven year later, she studied philosophy at Oxford in the same year as Iris Murdoch, Elizabeth Anscombe and Philippa Foot, all of whom became close friends. Midgley tells us in vivid and humorous fashion how they cut a swathe through the arid landscape of 1950s British philosophy, writing and arguing - often with each other - about the grand themes of character, beauty and the meaning of rudeness while the spectral figure of Ludwig Wittgenstein hovered in the background. She also charts the highs and lows of philosophy and academia in Britain. On joining the Reading philosophy department on £400 a year in 1949, she doubled its staff complement. But her many years at Newcastle University - where Mike Brearley, who later captained England at cricket, also used to teach - were rewarded with the closure of the philosophy department in the 1980s. The mother of three children, her journey is also one of a woman who in the 1950s and 1960s was fighting to combine a professional career with raising a family. in startling contrast to many of the academic stars of her generation, we learn that Midgley nearly became a novelist and started writing philosophy only when in her fifties, suggesting that Minerva's owl really does fly at dusk. Plainly told like her philosophy, this is an elegiac and moving account of friendships found and lost, bitter philosophical battles and of a profound love ofteaching all too rarely acknowledged today. Back flap Mary Midgley was born in London in 1919. She is one of the most renowned moral philosophers of her generation and the author of many books, including Beast and Man, Wickedness and The Myths We Live By. She has taken part in many broadcast events, including The Moral Maze and Woman's Hour. Backboard 'Merely as anthologies of contemporary folly, Midlgey's books are essential reading ... we have Mary Midgley among us. We should pay attention and be grateful.' Brian Appleyard, The Sunday Times 'Mary Midgley is a philosopher with what many have come to admire, and some to fear, as one of the sharpest critical pens in the West' Steven Rose 'one of the sharpest and most incisive philosophical minds writing today. Janet Martin Soskice, The Tablet Midgley's books over the past thirty years have made a signal contribution to ending the contest of faculties and to furthering the central philosophical mission of making sense of life. Raymond Tallis, Times Higher Education SupplementMidgley, Mary is the author of 'Owl Of Minerva', published 2007 under ISBN 9780415371391 and ISBN 0415371392.