Spark, Dame Muriel

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Spark, Dame Muriel,

1918–2006, Scottish novelist, b. Muriel Sarah Camberg. She lived in Edinburgh, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), London, New York, and Rome, and spent her last years in Tuscany. Spark's typically short, spare, and witty novels expose the pretensions, hypocrisies, and petty foibles of her characters with merciless satire and cool detachment. Her Roman Catholicism (she converted in 1954) informs her acute moral vision and underlies her interest in revealing the dark, terrifying, evil, and unexplainable side of banal human experience. Spark's 22 novels include The Comforters (1957), Memento Mori (1958), The Bachelors (1960), The Girls of Slender Means (1963), The Mandelbaum Gate (1965), The Driver's Seat (1970), The Abbess of Crewe (1974), The Takeover (1976), Loitering with Intent (1981), A Far Cry from Kensington (1988), Reality and Dreams (1997), Aiding and Abetting (2001), and The Finishing School (2004). Her short novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961) became an acclaimed stage, film, and television production; its success made Spark famous and wealthy. Her poems and short stories are compiled in Collected Poems I (1967), Collected Stories I (1968), and Open to the Public: New and Collected Stories (1997, rev. ed. 2001). Many of her essays, written 1950–2003, were collected in The Informed Air (2014). She also wrote critical studies of Mary ShelleyShelley, Mary Wollstonecraft,
1797–1851, English author; daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. In 1814 she fell in love with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, accompanied him abroad, and after the death of his first wife in 1816 was married to him.
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 (1951) and John MasefieldMasefield, John
, 1878–1967, English poet. He went to sea as a youth and later spent several years in the United States. In 1897 he returned to England and was on the staff of the Manchester Guardian.
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 (1953) and a biography of Emily BrontëBrontë
, family of English novelists, including Charlotte Brontë, 1816–55, English novelist, Emily Jane Brontë, 1818–48, English novelist and poet, and Anne Brontë, 1820–49, English novelist.
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 (1953). She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1993.

Bibliography

See her autobiography, Curriculum Vitae (1993); critical biography by B. Cheyette (2001), biography by M. Stannard (2010); studies by D. Stanford (1963), K. Malkoff (1968), P. Stubbs, ed. (1973), R. Whittaker (1982), A. Bold, ed. (1986), D. Walker (1988), R. S. Edgecombe (1990), N. Page (1990), J. L. Randisi (1991), J. Hynes, ed. (1992), J. Sproxton (1992), M. Pearlman (1996), F. E. Apostolou (2001), M. McQuillan, ed. (2001), and M. Herman (2010).

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That Muriel Spark has been ignored by feminist scholarship is all the more surprising as her Miss Jean Brody is, among other things, "a rereading of Jane Eyre," much like Margaret Drabble's The Waterfall, which has a preeminent position in the feminist canon (374).
Her recent publications include the novel The Finishing School (Viking/Doubleday, 2004) and All the Poems of Muriel Spark (New Directions, 2004).
She links this change to the movement in narration from a distanced, omniscient style to free indirect discourse, in which boundaries between writer and character dissolve, and argues that Flannery O'Connor, Muriel Spark, and Graham Greene began to redress that imbalance by moving away from free indirect discourse toward an omniscient narration suggestive of the transcendent God all three believed in.
National TheDRIVER'S SEAT ROYAL LYCEUM THEATRE, EDINBURGH Adapted by the National Theatre of Scotland from a 1970 book - which its author Muriel Spark described as a "whydunit" rather than a whodunit - The Driver's Seat follows attractive but unpredictable Lise (Morven Christie) as she escapes her crushing 9 to 5 job by jetting off for Italy and the promise of romance.
The writers examined are Flannery O'Connor, Muriel Spark, John Updike, Walker Percy, Mary Gordon, and Marilynne Robinson.
The pair were awarded the James Tait Black Prizes, joining the ranks of acclaimed previous recipients such as DH Lawrence, Graham Greene and Muriel Spark.
By the mid-years of the last century, Muriel Spark was widely regarded as the greatest living Scottish novelist, and, along with Waugh and Greene, made up a trinity of Roman Catholic writers who dominated post-war British fiction.
Journalist Lynn Barber chose The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark.
Much better would be commemorating real talent like the late Dame Muriel Spark, Scotland's most successful novelist and a real original.
Only a few days before Muriel Spark died, we read that the Rev.
Catholic novelist Muriel Spark died April 13 in a hospital in Florence, Italy.
Scottish-born novelist Dame Muriel Spark died on Thursday (13 April) in Tuscany at the age of 88.