She gave contradictory interviews, censored aspects of her publishers' marketing of her, and withdrew from friendships and situations when she felt her identity threatened or vulnerable to unwanted exposure. She has been classed with the two other famous writers of her time who converted to Catholicism — Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene. I found the analysis of her works more engaging and enlightening than the personal details, and I believe there are two reasons for this. Its only major fault, if this can be called one, is a tendency to overapologize for its subject. Almost by accident, Spark had found her true vocation: not poetry but fiction. At 19, she met and married Sydney Oswald Spark, a lapsed Jew 13 years her senior. She thought it was, and that was beyond me.
Appointment in Arezzo : a friendship with Muriel Spark. Eleven years later, she went to live with her in Tuscany and remained there until her death. They are all old, some bedridden and others senile, and while the message is always the same, each of them hears a different voice: old, young, sinister, polite. This is a very well researched and very thorough biography by someone who knew her quite well in the last years of her life. It is written, as are most biographies, chronologically, but soon gets by the dull business of childhood and parents and grandparents. Intellectually she was fascinating, and psychologically she was like no-one I had ever met.
Archived from on 6 January 2009. Readers can also interact with The Globe on and. His analysis of the actual works was interesting and inventive without being clever for clever's sake or so it seemed to me and I liked the fact that he used quotations from Spark and other contributors in a way which enhanced his explanations and reflections and did not drown his reader in aphorisms and 'shining wit'. On another occasion, her wrath descended on a hapless academic who suggested that her furniture was — the horror, the horror — Swedish. Antes maestro de herrería, zapatero, portero de discoteca, expendedor de una estación de gasolina, librero de fin de semana, maestro de escuela y profesor universitario, ahora se dedica a la escritura, la fotografía, la pintura y otras delicias. Want to Block Ads But Still Support Slate? She was the subject of frequent rumours of lesbian relationships from her time in New York onwards, although Spark and her friends denied their validity. She aimed for compression and obliqueness.
Photo Martin Stannard Credit Nick Mattingly But he was leaving to teach in Rhodesia, and that seemed exotic. Hers is a Cinderella story, the first thirty-nine years of which she presented in her autobiography, Curriculum Vitae 1992 , politely blurring the intensity of her darker moments: her relations with her brother, mother, son, husband; a terrifying period of hallucinations and subsequent depression; and the disastrously misplaced love she had felt for two men she had wanted to marry, Howard Sergeant and Derek Stanford. She had reviewed his account of Waugh's later years, which covered the time when Waugh helped to get her established as a novelist. It seemed to unlock a sudden power and direction. The stuff I wanted to include was about her losing her temper, or sacking somebody, or an outburst that brought her to life.
But this negates the very idea of biography, which deals with the untransfigured. Spark reacted by accusing him of seeking publicity to further his career as an artist. Unable to afford university, Spark left school at 16, took a course in précis-writing at a secretarial college and went to work at a fashionable department store. An interesting, feisty, career orientated, brave, intelligent, imaginative, hard working, forward moving individual. Como dramaturgo, ha publicado: La vaca de Octavio 1997 , La araña sube al monte 1997 , El pirata de la pata de palo 1997 , Lucy es pecosa 1997 , Mambrú se fue a la guerra 1998 , Después de la lluvia 1998 , Torcuato es un león viejo 2000 , Amores eternos 2003 , La ventana y la bruja 2003 , El amor y otras materias 2004 , La casa de chocolate 2009. This certainly provided useful material, particularly for her first novel, but it also left her exposed, in future, to insinuations of literary dottiness, which, of course, she resented.
In 1940 Muriel left Sidney and Robin. The poverty, cultural diversity and Calvinistic work ethic which characterised her family had a profound effect on the adolescent Spark. Even as a young girl, she had the ability to remember characters and conversations. They could not afford to send their daughter to college. A second volume of memoirs did not appear, although it was planned. At the age of 74, and beginning to suffer from ill-health, Spark clearly wanted to add to the 19 novels that she had published to date, not to mention her stories and poems.
This was presented in 5, 14-minute segments. Spark displayed originality of subject and tone, making extensive use of and imagined conversations. Stannard has delivered instead an ordinary lumpy mattress of a biography, with coils and feathers poking out the sides and a few bedbugs leaping to the floor. Robin was born in Africa, where Spark was forced to leave him in order to escape her husband. Stannard is particularly interesting on Spark's early, unredeemed years before both her conversion to Catholicism in 1954 and her success as a novelist, especially with The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie in 1961. I am currently supervising two doctorates: one on Evelyn Waugh and the concept of decadence, the other on Waugh, Greene and Spark and their representation of childhood.
Stanford, excommunicated by Spark after he published an ill-judged book about her and sold off her love letters, is partially rehabilitated by Stannard. She threatened to take out an injunction against a biography of her fellow novelist Paul Scott because of a small inaccuracy in an amusing story concerning Tennessee Williams at a dinner party. Stannard has many fine vignettes. She had few maternal instincts, and would never be close to her son, either. Many of them contain autobiographical elements, albeit reimagined and distorted, so I was eager to read this biography and find out more about the woman behind the stories. Her parents were poor her father worked in a rubber factory , and the family often took in boarders to keep afloat. Doubt is not a fixed principle, it moves, it can never be fixed, never at rest until it finds truth by defining This Stannard points out is a mainstay of her writing.