‘If I Write It, It’s Grammatical’

Muriel Spark
The Biography
Martin Stannard
W.W. Norton, $35, 656 pp.

Muriel Spark died in Italy in 2006 at the age of eighty-eight. Her gravestone in a small Tuscan cemetery describes her simply as “Muriel Spark, Poeta.” She did indeed begin her literary career as a poet, and she continued to write poetry throughout her life, though her reputation rests on the twenty-two novels she published between The Comforters in 1957 and The Finishing School in 2004.

Spark did not regard writing fiction as an activity fundamentally different from...

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About the Author

Bernard Bergonzi is the author of A Study in Greene, among many other books of literary criticism.