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Muriel Spark Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Comforters (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
Memento Mori (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
Robinson (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Bachelors (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Girls of Slender Means (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Quest for Lavishes Ghast (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mandelbaum Gate (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Public Image (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
Very Fine Clock (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Driver's Seat (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
Not to Disturb (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Hothouse by the East River (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Abbess of Crewe (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Takeover (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Territorial Rights (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
Loitering with Intent (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Only Problem (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Far Cry from Kensington (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Symposium (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Reality and Dreams (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Aiding and Abetting (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Finishing School (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Plays

Doctors of Philosophy (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

All the Stories of Muriel Spark (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Go-Away Bird and Other Stories (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
All the Poems of Muriel Spark (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
Collected Stories 1 (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bang-bang You're Dead and Other Stories (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Going Up To Sotheby's and Other Poems (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Stories of Muriel Spark (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Collected Stories of Muriel Spark (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Portobello Road and Other Stories (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Complete Short Stories (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Young Man Who Discovered the Secret of Life & Other Stories (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Selected Stories (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ghost Stories of Muriel Spark (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Complete Poems (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Emily Brontë (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
Child of Light (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mary Shelley (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Curriculum Vitae (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
John Masefield (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Essence Of The Brontës (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Letters Of The Brontes (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Walking on Air (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Golden Fleece (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Informed Air (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Good Comb (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Observing Eye (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Winter's Tales 21(1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
Best for Winter(1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories(1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Winter's Tales(1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories(1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
First Fiction: An Anthology of the First Published Stories by Famous Writers(1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Penguin Book of Modern Fantasy by Women(1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Open to the Public(1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Desiring Italy: Women Writers Celebrate the Passions of a Country and Culture(1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
British Poetry Magazines 1914-2000: A History and Bibliography of 'Little Magazines'(2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
London Stories(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sunless Solstice: Strange Christmas Tales for the Longest Nights(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stories for Christmas and the Festive Season(2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Scottish Stories(2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Muriel Spark full name Dame Muriel Sarah Spark was a literary fiction author born in Edinburgh Scotland. Spark was best known for writing works with serious themes interspersed with wit and satire. Upon graduating from high school, she went to Heriot-Watt College, where she was a student of precis writing even as she taught in a private school before becoming a personal secretary. In 1937, Muriel left England to go to Southern Rhodesia as she had met a man she wanted to marry. Seven years later in 1944, her marriage had fallen apart and after a messy divorce, she was back home in England. She got employment in the British Foreign Office at the Political Intelligence department where she worked o a variety of subtle propaganda. She had always wanted to write though she was more interested in poetry rather than prose. She started writing during this time and by the end of the War, she was the Editor of Poetry Review and General Secretary of the Poetry Society. By 1967, she had her own collection of poems published. Her first venture into prose had been when she had entered and won a short story competition by The Observer in 1951. She published her debut novel “The Comforters” in 1957.

Muriel Spark has published many novels over the years with her most popular being the 1961 published title “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.” The novel was later made into a film that had Maggie Smith in the lead role. “The Abbess of Crewe” and “The Driver’s Seat” were also made into motion pictures featuring Glenda Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor respectively. “The Girls of Slender Means” that she published in 1963 was among three of her works that were adapted into TV series. The 1960 published novel “The Ballad of Peckham Rye” was made into a musical for radio and was the winner of the Memento Mori and the Prix Italia in 1962, in addition to being adapted for the stage and or TV as a series. Spark was also involved in the writing of plays such as the 1962 published “Doctors of Philosophy.” The play was produced by Ingmar Bergman in the Scandinavian countries and was also staged at the Arts Theatre in London. Some of her works such as “Territorial Rights” were written on themes of turns of fate and unusual crimes. She has also written about crimes of passion in “Not to Disturb,” a novel set on the shores of Lake Geneve and “The Hothouse by the East River” that she published in 1973. Spark has also been known or her satire and she was inspired by the Nixon Watergate scandal in her writing of “The Abbess of Crewe.”

During her writing career, Muriel Spark studied the works and lives of John Masefield, the Bronte sisters, and Mary Shelley. She wrote a critical biography of Mary Shelley titled “Child of Light” in 1951 as a celebration of the centenary of her death. She would then pen biographies of John Masefield, Emily Bronte followed by an anthology of Bronte writings. “Curriculum Vitae” her own autobiography was published in 1992. She also wrote many short stories and children’s fiction with “The Complete Short Stories Collection” her most popular anthology published in the early 2000s. In 2004, she published “The Finishing School” that was to be her last novel before she died in 2006. While she lived in Italy for much of her adult life, she traveled extensively collecting material for her novels. During her literary career, she was the recipient of several awards and honors including honorary degrees from universities in Scotland, some from London, and others from Oxford. The Royal Society of Edinburgh made her an Honorary Member while the Royal Society of Literature awarded her with the title Companion of Literature. In 1933, she was made a Dame of the British Empire to add on to the honor of Honorary Member of the Commandeur de l’Ordres des Arts et des Lettres and the American Academy of Arts and Letter. Spark died in 2006 at her home in Italy.

Muriel Spark’s “The Comforters” is the story of a Catholic convert named Caroline Rose who has recently been having auditory hallucinations. She has been hearing an author typing and narrating her life story and that of her acquaintances and friends. Fearing for her mental health, she checks into the hospital from where the author gives vivid descriptions of her thoughts and her surroundings. Meanwhile, Mrs. Hogg the blackmailing and manipulative character goes missing when she falls asleep or walks out of a room. The other characters have never taken her seriously though she has always been an open book, which means she has no private life whatsoever. Laurence who is Caroline’s boyfriend thinks that his grandmother is the ring leader of a diamond smuggling operation while The Baron who is one of her most eccentric friends believes there are devil worshippers behind every bush. It is not easy to find someone you could believe as a lot of the characters seem to have some kind of mental issues. Could we just be making allowances for people’s derangement even as we all are courteous maniacs?

“Memento Mori” by Muriel Spark is a novel that tells of a group of friends in their seventies and eighties that begin receiving anonymous calls with a chilling message “Remember you must die.” The caller seems to be knowledgeable about his victim’s movements as he often calls when they are at the house of a relative or friend. Most of the victims are upper/middle-class Englishmen that include a Dame, company owners, an ex-cop, and a novelist. They are typical British persons with very different reactions to the calls that the author satirizes regardless of the anguish they cause. The star of the story is death though it only comes to bear near the end of the story, where it reigns supreme. Since most of the characters are elderly, the story takes the reader round to upper-class dining rooms, long-stay hospital wards, genteel nursing homes, and sometimes to the realm of authoritarian servants. It is a world that even in the mid of the twentieth century was vanishing fast. Spark livens it all up with a wastrel and irresponsible son, a murder, an elderly man who loves stockings, a car crash, a secret wedding, and a car crash.

“The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” harks back to 1930s Edinburgh. The lead is Miss Jean Brodie, a schoolmistress who has carefully selected six of her students that she makes her confidants. Over the years, she has developed some unorthodox views and she intends to transmit these views to her confidants. Some of that education will include fictionalized accounts of love affairs that she believes help her prolong her youth for as long as she can. The resultant story tells of the extravagant relationship that develops over time between the schoolmaster and the girls. However, the relationship could not be any more complex as the girls learn under the shadow of Brodie’s contradictions and frustrations. She can be a radical conservative when it comes to her love for fascist ideology though she is very liberal in other aspects of her life such as love and relationships. Caught up in her peculiar romantic engagements, Brodie is oblivious of her influence on the choices that her impressionable students make that may come back to bite her too.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Muriel Spark

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