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Title: Muriel Spark and Catholicism
Author: Walls, Kate
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2014
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My PhD thesis analyses Catholic themes in the novel,s of Scottish born writer Muriel Spark. Spark's career spanned five decades, and much of her work was influenced by her conversion to Catholicism. She is a sophisticated and enigmatic writer whose work defies categorisation. Part of this difficulty stems from her position as "other" within Catholicism· -a result of her conversion and her refusal to adhere to traditional Catholic gender roles. What does become clear upon examining Spark's fiction is that she uses subversive and paradoxical rhetoric to highlight the problems inherent in being unable to fully comprehend God's mystery. Spark appears to be obsessed with several religious concepts that appear constantly in her fiction. In the case of the Catholic convert and the Book of Job, these threads appear repeatedly and build to a climax-once Spark comprehensively addresses them in her fiction, the threads disappears from her work entirely. In exploring these Catholic themes, it becomes clear that, despite Spark's work being abundant with references to religion, there is very little narrative space devoted to the character's internal thoughts regarding God and religious thought. I argue that in Spark's fiction, creativity is a proxy for religious faith. Spark draws parallels to the personal and individual nature of both, but devotes more narrative space to explaining a sense of faith in the creative process. She also appears to grant narrative endorsement to characters who believe in and ate guided by their creativity, even when they clearly traverse the boundaries of acceptable "moral" behaviour.
Supervisor: Litvack, Leon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available