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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

Living Next Door to Death

Living Next Door to Death

(p.16) Chapter 1 Living Next Door to Death
Muriel Spark, Existentialism and The Art of Death

Cairns Craig

Edinburgh University Press

Spark’s characters live out their lives ‘next door to death’, in plots which often turn on those characters’ efforts to control the future beyond their own death by means of wills and legacies. For Sartrean existentialism, human beings live in a world without God, making themselves by their own individual choices. Spark resists this secular framework by building her plots around apparently supernatural events, such as the ‘typing ghost’ who predicts the future in The Comforters and the phone calls in Memento Mori which remind characters they must die. The introduction of the supernatural reveals a world which cannot be comprehended by the kinds of realism to which Sartre’s secular philosophy was committed.

Keywords:   Kierkegaard, existentialism, Hegelianism, supernatural

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