The Informed Air: Essays
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Together for the first time in one sparkling, delicious volume, here are the greatest essays of Muriel Spark
A fantastic essayist, the inimitable Muriel Spark addresses here the writing life; love; cats; favorite writers (T. S. Eliot, Robert Burns, the Brontës, Mary Shelley); Piero della Francesca; life in wartime London and in glamorous “Hollywood-on-the-Tiber;” 1960s Rome; faith; and parties (on her first New Year’s Eve, as a baby sipping her mother’s sherry: “I always loved a party”).
Spark’s scope is amazing, and her striking, glancing insights are precise and unforgettable. From the mysteries of Job’s sufferings, she glides to Dame Edith Sitwell’s cocktail advice about how to handle a nasty publisher, and on to the joys of success.
her in itself, only as a constant study of man’s folly. The outcome is a book which, I believe, tells many things, mainly about the author Muriel Spark and I hope throws light on how she felt when young, in tune with the solitary sadness of the Brontës; how she was inspired as a writer and became a Roman Catholic from reading Cardinal Newman; how amused she was by some of the curiosities that came her way to review such as Our Dearest Emma or the fashionable tattooist Professor Burchardt; her
into helpless laughter at the sight, those tyrants wouldn’t have had a chance. And I say we should all be conditioned and educated to regard violence in any form as something to be ruthlessly mocked. If someone derides me, I don’t like it. But at least I can begin to understand the mentality of the mocker. And I can mock back in such a way that he might understand mine. And so there may be room for a mutual understanding. But if he slides a knife between my ribs I’m unlikely to understand
magic element in the love-affair. It might also have been the case that neither of them had really had time to meet anybody else. Observing people in love has a certain charm and sometimes, entertainment value. But to my mind watching them actually making love is something different. I find it most unappealing to walk through a London park on a mild spring day and find the grass littered with couples making love. It turns me up, it turns me off. I don’t understand how voyeurism turns people on.
puritanical virtues tend to be regarded as quaint eccentricities: industriousness, for instance, or a horror of debt. A polite reticence about sex is often mistaken for repression. On the other hand, spiritual joy does not come in an easy consistent flow to the puritanically-nurtured soul. Myself, I have had to put up a psychological fight for my spiritual joy. Most Edinburgh-born people, of my generation at least, must have been brought up with a sense of civic superiority. We were definitely
dealing with a work of art; it is susceptible to many interpretations throughout; and then we do not apply the same quality of interpretation to every part. That the prologue and epilogue are to be read in a different sense from the dialogue is obvious; the former are prose writings, the latter verse. The prologue and epilogue belong to the childhood of the race. They are fabulous and suggestive; the dialogue is immediate and particular. If we read only the prologue and the dialogue, the effect