Monday, April 17, 2006

Muriel Spark

The several short obituaries published following the death of Muriel Spark only gloss the surface of the work of the woman who was a very complex writer. Her lightness of touch concealing more powerful themes.
There is a good but short obituary by Robin Stummer in the Independent on Sunday:

and a personal memoir from Allan Massie in The Times:,,2090-2136740,00.html

My own favourite quotation is from A Girl of Slender Means:

"Anarchism properly has no history - i.e. in the sense of continuity and development. It is a spontaneous movement of people in particular times and circumstances. A history of anarchism would not be in the nature of a political history, it would be analogous to a history of the heart-beat. One may make new discoveries about it, one may compare its reactions under varying conditions, but there is nothing new of itself."
(with thanks to Clifford Harper of Agraphia )