A twentieth-century Irish-born novelist who wrote about timeless themes such as good vs. evil, sexual relationships, morality, and the unconscious, her best known works include Under the Net (1954), An Unofficial Rose (1962), An Accidental Man (1971), The Unicorn (1963), and The Black Prince (1973).
She studied philosophy at Oxford and Cambridge. She published her debut novel, Under the Net, in 1954.
Her 1974 novel, The Sacred and Profane Love Machine, won the Whitbread Literary Award. In addition to fiction, she wrote plays, philosophical works, and poetry.
She was born in Dublin to a civil servant father and a singer mother. She married John Bayley in 1956.
She, like George Orwell, is considered one of the greatest United Kingdom-born writers of the 20th century.