Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark : The Biography

3.8 (119 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?


The long-awaited biography of one of the great writers of the twentieth century - 'a wonderful blend of scholarly fact and juicy storytelling' (Mail on Sunday).Muriel Spark ended 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, and with Memento Mori, The Ballad of Peckham 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.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 656 pages
  • 129.54 x 195.58 x 43.18mm | 498.95g
  • Orion Publishing Co
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • UK ed.
  • Illustrations, ports.
  • 0753827492
  • 9780753827499
  • 297,624

About Martin Stannard

Martin Stannard is Professor of Modern English Literature at the University of Leicester and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He lives near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.
show more

Review quote

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 *
show more

Rating details

119 ratings
3.8 out of 5 stars
5 24% (28)
4 46% (55)
3 20% (24)
2 8% (9)
1 3% (3)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X