Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
A Grain of FaithReligion in Mid-Century British Literature$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Allan Hepburn

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198828570

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198828570.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 08 March 2021

Muriel Spark and Evil

Muriel Spark and Evil

(p.130) 4 Muriel Spark and Evil
A Grain of Faith

Allan Hepburn

Oxford University Press

Muriel Spark gave sustained attention to the problem of evil. In her view, people committed evil acts gratuitously, merely for the sake of causing suffering. By the same token, novels are virtually unthinkable without some degree of evil—or evil in its lesser forms, such as mischief, wickedness, or wanton cruelty. Using previously untapped archival materials, this chapter focuses on manifestations of evil in two of Spark’s novels: The Comforters, in which evil is an intrusion on privacy, and Memento Mori, in which the evil characters, Mabel Pettigrew and Eric Colston, manipulate, blackmail, and threaten others for personal gain. Spark’s speculations on evil must be understood in terms of philosophical and theological discussions at mid-century. For Spark, evil was not a psychological issue so much as a moral one. In this regard, her novels can be profitably read alongside works about evil by C. E. M. Joad, Jean Nabert, and Hannah Arendt.

Keywords:   evil, cruelty, privacy, blackmail, theology, philosophy, Muriel Spark, archive

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .