Muriel Spark

Standard Name: Spark, Muriel
Birth Name: Muriel Sarah Camberg
Nickname: Sparklet
Married Name: Muriel Sarah Spark
Pseudonym: Aquarius
The publishing career of MS spanned the later twentieth century, extending beyond each end of that fifty-year period. She began writing as a poet, and went on to short fiction, literary criticism, biography, journalism, and drama. Having come to prose fiction through narrative poetry, she only gradually came to take the novel genre seriously.
Spark, Muriel. Curriculum Vitae: Autobiography. Constable.
She is, however, best known for her twenty-three novels, and especially for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1961. She experimented with the longer novel, but her critical and commercial success came with shorter works. She said she preferred minor novels, in which she could explore precisely defined subjects within clear formal boundaries.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Education Ali Smith
Under her Aberdeen advisor, Isobel Murray , AS produced a thesis chronicling the history of Scottish fiction from the Kailyard School of the late nineteenth century to the contemporary moment. Named Transfiguration of the Commonplace...
Education Ali Smith
Of all the experiences in her university career, AS specifically names readings at Aberdeen by eminent Scottish writers Alasdair Gray , Jim Kelman , and Liz Lochhead as having the kind of vibrancy that splits...
Friends, Associates Graham Greene
Personal friends who were Catholics or converted to that faith during the course of their friendships with Greene included Muriel Spark , Antonia White and the future writer Mary Wesley .
Friends, Associates Evelyn Waugh
He counted among his friends Graham Greene and his fellow comic novelists Nancy Mitford and Muriel Spark .
Friends, Associates Christine Brooke-Rose
Muriel Spark , a very old friend of CBR ,
Brooke-Rose, Christine. Invisible Author: Last Essays. Ohio State University Press.
also worked in intelligence during the war. Brooke-Rose later helped her by looking over and correcting French translations of Spark's works. Another early friend...
Intertextuality and Influence Hilary Mantel
At her selective convent school school Carmel McBain is thrown closely together with Karina (child of East European immigrant parents), because they are the only two children at the school from poor homes beyond its...
Intertextuality and Influence Ali Smith
In Perfect, a guest and hotal reviewer, Penny, is assailed with misperceptions and lack of recognition. After helping a mysterious young woman (who turns out to be Sara's sister, Clare) to pry the cover...
Leisure and Society Ivy Compton-Burnett
ICB was scathing about the work of some younger novelists, like Iris Murdoch and Muriel Spark (though she took Murdoch more seriously than Spark).
Liddell, Robert, and Francis King. Elizabeth and Ivy. Peter Owen.
86, 93-4
In her years alone she became very fond of...
Literary responses Mary Webb
MW 's friend Caradoc Evans (who called her the greatest living woman novelist and understood how hungry she was for success) recorded her envy of an unnamed countryside woman novelist who was savouring her own...
Literary responses Mary Wesley
Early praise for MW 's work came from such different writers as Marghanita Laski and Susan Hill . Other commentators likened her work to that of Rose Macaulay , Elizabeth Bowen , Barbara Pym ...
Literary responses Jeanette Winterson
Reviewers in the Washington Post Book World, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Times Literary Supplement, the Scotsman, and The Times all acclaimed this novel; Muriel Spark termed Winterson a fresh voice...
Literary responses Elizabeth Bowen
Glendinning writes: She is what happened after Bloomsbury; she is the link that connects Virginia Woolf with Iris Murdoch and Muriel Spark .
Glendinning, Victoria. Elizabeth Bowen. Alfred A. Knopf.
Elizabeth Jenkins characteristically remarked that as Britain's leading woman of letters...
Literary responses Hilary Mantel
Lindsay Duguid in the Times Literary Supplementlocated Fludd in the tradition of Muriel Spark and called it [s]erious without being pious, satirical without being trivial, and always forgiving . . . . both funny...
Literary responses Hilary Mantel
HM already features in critical surveys of the modern British novel, such as that by Nick Rennison , 2004. A. S. Byatt discusses her (among writers of both sexes including predecessors Elizabeth Bowen and Muriel Spark
Literary responses Christine Brooke-Rose
The book was not well received, because of what was felt to be its misanthropic spleen.
Birch, Sarah. Christine Brooke-Rose and Contemporary Fiction. Clarendon Press.
It was roughly treated, for instance, on a tv discussion programme. CBR remained dissatisfied with her first...


1797: James Gillespie, Edinburgh bachelor and self-made...

Building item


James Gillespie , Edinburgh bachelor and self-made snuff merchant, left money at his death to found a day school for poor boys, later for boys and girls.

1826: The Royal Society of Literature received...

Writing climate item


The Royal Society of Literature received its charter; it had been founded several years previously.

21 February 1924: The first issue appeared of the New Yorker...

Writing climate item

21 February 1924

The first issue appeared of the New Yorkermagazine (still going strong in the twenty-first century).
Borne Back Daily. .
21 February 2011

1962: Publisher John Calder and writer's widow...

Writing climate item


Publisher John Calder and writer's widow Sonia Orwell together organised at Edinburgh the first, highly successful Writers' Conference.

30 May 1967: Colonel Emeka Ojukwu of Eastern Nigeria made...

National or international item

30 May 1967

Colonel Emeka Ojukwu of Eastern Nigeria made a unilateral declaration of independence on the part of the Ibo people, which set up the Republic of Biafra.

April 2005: The poet Fiona Sampson took up the position...

Writing climate item

April 2005

The poet Fiona Sampson took up the position of editor of Poetry Review (published by the Poetry Society )—the first woman to hold this post since Muriel Spark more than forty years before.

8 May 2008: Virago Press marked thirty years of Virago...

Women writers item

8 May 2008

Virago Press marked thirty years of Virago Modern Classics by re-issuing works by Barbara Pym , E. M. Delafield , Elizabeth Taylor , Jacqueline Susann , Muriel Spark , Helene Hanff , Zora Neale Hurston , and Angela Carter .


Spark, Muriel. A Far Cry from Kensington. Constable, 1988.
Brontë, Emily. A Selection of Poems by Emily Brontë. Editor Spark, Muriel, Grey Walls Press, 1952.
Spark, Muriel. Aiding and Abetting. Viking, 2000.
Spark, Muriel. All the Poems. Carcanet, 2004.
Spark, Muriel. Bang-Bang You’re Dead and Other Stories. Granada, 1982.
Spark, Muriel. Child of Light: A Reassessment of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Tower Bridge, 1951.
Spark, Muriel. Collected Poems I. Macmillan, 1967.
Spark, Muriel. Collected Stories I. Macmillan, 1967.
Spark, Muriel. Complete Poems. Carcanet Press, 2015.
Spark, Muriel. Curriculum Vitae: Autobiography. Constable, 1992.
Spark, Muriel. Doctors of Philosophy. Macmillan, 1963.
Spark, Muriel, and Derek Stanford. Emily Brontë: Her Life and Work. Peter Owen, 1953.
Spark, Muriel. Going Up to Sotheby’s and Other Poems. Granada, 1982.
Spark, Muriel. John Masefield. Nevill, 1953.
Spark, Muriel, and Derek Stanford, editors. Letters of John Henry Newman: A Selection. Owen, 1957.
Spark, Muriel. Loitering with Intent. Bodley Head, 1981.
Spark, Muriel. Memento Mori. Macmillan, 1959.
Spark, Muriel. Memento Mori. Macmillan, 1966.
Spark, Muriel, and Derek Stanford, editors. My Best Mary: The Selected Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Wingate, 1953.
Spark, Muriel. “My Conversion”. Critical Essays on Muriel Spark, edited by Joseph Hynes, G. K. Hall and Maxwell Macmillan, 1992, pp. 24-28.
Spark, Muriel. Not to Disturb. Macmillan, 1971.
Spark, Muriel. Open to the Public: New and Collected Stories. New Directions, 1997.
Spark, Muriel. Out of a Book. Millar and Burden, 1933.
Spark, Muriel. Reality and Dreams. Constable, 1996.
Spark, Muriel. Reality and Dreams. Penguin, 1997.