Muriel Spark

Scottish novelist and writer (1918-2006)

Dame Muriel Spark DBE, CLit, FRSE, FRSL (née Muriel Sarah Camberg; 1 February 1918 – 13 April 2006) was a Scottish novelist, short-story writer, biographer and literary critic. At least three of her novels have been filmed.


  • The one certain way for a woman to hold a man is to leave him for religion.
    • The Comforters (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1957) p. 28
  • Parents learn a lot from their children about coping with life.
    • The Comforters (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1957) p. 133
  • It is impossible to repent of love. The sin of love does not exist.
  • New York, home of the vivisectors of the mind, and of the mentally vivisected still to be reassembled, of those who live intact, habitually wondering about their states of sanity, and home of those whose minds have been dead, bearing the scars of resurrection.
    • The Hothouse by the East River (London: Macmillan, 1973) p. 12

All quotations are cited from the 1999 Perennial Classics reprint.

  • "I am putting old heads on your young shoulders," Miss Brodie had told them at that time, "and all my pupils are the crème de la crème."
    • p. 5
  • One's prime is elusive. You little girls, when you grow up, must be on the alert to recognise your prime at whatever time of your life it may occur. You must then live it to the full.
    • p. 8
  • To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil's soul. To Miss Mackay it is a putting in of something that is not there, and that is not what I call education, I call it intrusion.
    • p. 36
  • It is impossible to persuade a man who does not disagree, but smiles.
    • p. 92

About Spark

  • Her sentences march under a harsh sun that bleaches color from them but bestows a peculiar, invigorating, Pascalian clarity.
Wikipedia has an article about: