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Studia Littearia_6_5

Strona główna > Studia Littearia_6_5 :

The Natural and the Supernatural in Muriel Sparks Fiction

Bożena Kucała

Studia Litteraria Universitatis Iagellonicae Cracoviensis, vol. 6 pp. 65-73
Kraków 2011

Published online March
19, 2012
DOI: 10.4467/20843933ST.11.005.0303


The Natural and the Supernatural in Muriel Spark’s Fiction

A striking feature of Muriel Spark’s fiction is its insistence on the reality of the supernatural, which occasionally breaks into the naturalistic level, defying and challenging habitual modes of perception. The fact of Spark being a religious convert is well known, but her faith is manifested in ways different from what is normally assumed to be religious writing. Spark’s novels are never overtly didactic or moralistic; the impact of her faith is manifest in the notion of reality as conveyed by her fiction. Spark’s vision of reality, underlain by her Catholicism, is based on her conviction that empirical reality coexists with the supernatural world; therefore, interactions with the supernatural, however strange they may seem, are presented in her fiction as compellingly plausible. It is argued in the article that Spark’s ontology of fiction is rooted in a tradition going back to Chesterton, who insisted on the paradoxical conjunction of nonsense and faith, both capable of invoking a sense of spiritual wonder at the world we normally take for granted. Memento Mori, Reality and Dreams as well as selected short stories are referenced to illustrate the peculiar combination of the empirical and the supernatural in Spark’s fiction. The article asserts the paradox, central to Spark’s vision of reality, that the supernatural should be accepted as a natural part of profane experience.


Keywords: : Muriel Spark, natural and supernatural in literature, religion in literature, Catholic novel, English short stories

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