ABOUT THIS BOOK
PUBLICATION DATE: March 28, 2014
The Golden Fleece: Essays
By (author) Muriel Spark; Edited by Penelope Jardine
The essays, reviews, memoirs and other writings collected here for the first time conjure up one of the great critical imaginations of our time. Grouped into four sections (Art and Poetry; Autobiography and Travel; Literature; and Religion, Politics and Philosophy), they demonstrate the wide range of Muriel Spark’s knowledge and interests, and throw into relief the people, places and ideas that inspired her throughout her life as a working writer. The book includes perceptive essays on literary figures including the Brontes, Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot and Robert Louis Stevenson; engaging accounts of visits to John Masefield, Edith Sitwell, and Louis MacNeice’s home (in the absence of its owner); and reflections on the sermons of Cardinal Newman and the Old Testament book of Job as perennially rich sources of spiritual nourishment. The novelist’s eye for the telling detail is evident in portraits of the cities – Venice, Rome, Ravenna, Istanbul – which Muriel Spark visited or in which she made her home. As Penelope Jardine puts it in her preface, this book ‘tells many things’.
Muriel Spark was born in Edinburgh in 1918. After some years living in Africa, she returned to England, where she edited Poetry Review from 1947 to 1949 and published her first volume of poems, The Fanfarlo, in 1952. She eventually made her home in Italy. Her many novels include Memento Mori (1959), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), The Girls of Slender Means (1963), The Abbess of Crewe (1974), A Far Cry from Kensington (1988) and The Finishing School (2004). Her short stories were collected in 1967, 1985 and 2001, and her Collected Poems appeared in 1967. Dame Muriel was made Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres (France) in 1996 and awarded her DBE in 1993. She died in Italy on 13th April 2006, at the age of 88.