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Muriel Spark by Martin Stannard
  

Muriel Spark

Biography / Autobiography   Books of the Month   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   
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August 2010 Book of the Month.

This biography, written with full co-operation from Muriel Spark, before her death in 2006, is a wonderful testament to a life lived to the full. From her working class upbringing in Edinburgh to married life in Rhodesia, fleeing back to Scotland, moving to New York and eventually ending her days in Tuscany, Sparks life was extraordinary and fulfilling. A great insight in to a fascinating character.

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Synopsis

Muriel Spark by Martin Stannard

Muriel Spark was one of the great writers of the twentieth century. 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. Aged nineteen, Spark left Scotland to marry in Southern Rhodesia, escaping back to Britain on a troopship in 1944 after her divorce. Her son returned in 1945 to be brought up by her parents in Edinburgh while she established herself as a poet and critic in London. After becoming a Roman Catholic in 1954, she began a novel, THE COMFORTERS (1957), and with MEMENTO MORI, THE BALLAD OF PECKAM RYE and THE BACHELORS rose rapidly into the literary stratosphere. THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE (1961), with its adaptation into a successful stage-play and film, marked her full translation into international celebrity and from that point she went to live first in New York, then Rome, and finally Tuscany where for over thirty years, until her death in 2006, she shared a house with her companion, the artist Penelope Jardine.

Reviews

Precise and perceptive ... a pioneering biography * The Times * Martin Stannard's biography will become the standard work on one of Britain's finest postwar writers * Observer * This fine life explains why Muriel Spark numbers among the creme de la creme of modern novelists ... [With its] many fine vignettes ... this is a biography that has been worth the long wait * Sunday Telegraph * An exhaustive and fascinating story * Evening Standard * Stannard is particularly strong on Spark as a novelist and on the intrigues of the American and British and publishing worlds * Irish Times * Stannard had unfettered access to Spark's archives and proves an adept biographer of the sparky and troubled author * The Times * Spark invited the author to write her biography. In his hands scholasticism and sauce prove a fascinating, compelling mix * Huddersfield Daily Examiner * Stannard has got under Spark's skin about as deeply as anyone could -- Alastair Mabbott * Herald * A lively, engrossing and detailed tome * Sunday Telegraph * Stannard's triumph is to have produced an account that survived her scrutiny yet reveals her vanity and egotism so unmistakably * Sunday Times * Gripping; a rich, complex, quagmire of a book, Muriel Spark is worth the wait, witty, readable and well researched - about as satisfying as a literary biography can be -- Frances Wilson * Daily Telegraph *


About the Author

Martin Stannard

Martin Stannard is Professor of English Literature at the University of Leicester.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th August 2010

Author

Martin Stannard

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Author's Website

www.martinstannard.com

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Publisher

Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) an imprint of Orion Publishing Co

Format

Paperback
656 pages

Categories

Biography / Autobiography
Books of the Month
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Biography: literary

ISBN

9780753827499

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