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Title: The novels of Muriel Spark : intertextual readings
Author: Garratt, Julia Margaret
ISNI:       0000 0001 3491 3738
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 1993
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Muriel Spark's novels engage with a wide variety of other texts, embracing both "popular" and "high" cultural forms. They display a democratic enjoyment of the popular and of story-telling while at the same time adapting established formulas to serious purposes. Theories of intertextuality therefore provide a rewarding approach to her novels. The functioning of their humour is compatible with Mikhail Bakhtin's concepts of the dialogic and the carnivalistic, but Julia Kristeva's formulation of the operation of intertextuality indicates that readings derived from it would go against the grain of a Catholic novelist's enterprise. However, Muriel Spark's novels can be seen to participate in rather than resist deconstructive explorations of meaning. A frank admission that texts are based on other texts and an acceptance of conventions as points of departure is comparable with Christian belief in something external to the self. The challenge to orthodoxy favoured by Kristeva may, in a bourgeois culture, take the form of resistance to a humanist emphasis on individualism and Romantic notions of originality. The idea that God is accessible only through texts endorses the importance of textuality and supports the capacity of fiction to engage with debates about the limits of indeterminacy. In this study discussion of theory is linked to close readings of individual novels. Different kinds of intertexts are considered - those which may be termed cultural attitudes, such as concepts of the self and ideas of place, as well as written ones. Attention is also given to the impact of the rhetorical strategies adopted, and to the connection between subverting narrative conventions and challenging received opinions. This necessitates recognition of the contribution of the novels to debates about political power, their use of satire as a weapon, and their demand on readers to play
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature