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Muriel Spark, Existentialism and The Art of Death$
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Cairns Craig

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474447201

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474447201.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 28 July 2021

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
(p.iii) Muriel Spark, Existentialism and the Art of Death
Author(s):

Cairns Craig

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474447201.003.0001

Muriel Spark has regularly been described as a Catholic novelist, given that her conversion to Catholicism was followed closely by the publication of her first novel, The Comforters, about the struggles of a Catholic convert. However, the intellectual context in which she came to maturity in the years after the Second World War was pervaded by the issues raised by existentialism, issues which surface directly in her novel The Mandelbaum Gate. Existentialism is now associated with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir as an atheistic philosophy, but it began as a Christian philosophy inspired by nineteenth-century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. It was Kierkegaard’s Christian existentialism which shaped Spark’s own ‘leap to faith’ and his ironic style which shaped her own approach to the novel form.

Keywords:   Catholic, conversion, existentialism, Kierkegaard, Sartre, faith

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