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Mistress of Disappearances

Frank Kermode: Eluding Muriel Spark

10 September 2009
Muriel Spark: The Biography 
by Martin Stannard.
Weidenfeld, 627 pp., £25, July 2009, 978 0 297 81592 1
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... MartinStannard, the author of an immense biography of Evelyn Waugh, now publishes this excellent and far from brief life of Muriel Spark. The book was well under way while the novelist was still alive, and he ...


A.N. Wilson

14 May 1992
Evelyn Waugh: No Abiding City 1939-1966 
by Martin Stannard.
Dent, 523 pp., £25, April 1992, 0 460 86062 3
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... MartinStannard resisted the temptation to call this story Decline and Fall, but it would not have been a bad title. On one level, the last 27 years of Evelyn Waugh’s life make melancholy reading. The book begins ...


John Bayley

4 December 1986
Evelyn Waugh: The Early Years 1903-1939 
by Martin Stannard.
Dent, 537 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 460 04632 2
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... can be made to sound like a good one. Waugh’s is too obviously a well-carpentered object, with his original story ‘The Man Who liked Dickens’ having the rest of the novel dovetailed onto it. MartinStannard is surely right to point out here that ‘so skilful was Waugh’s literary carpentry that he managed to join the tale to the novel almost without alteration,’ the story’s original ...


Christopher Tayler: Muriel Spark’s Essays

24 September 2014
The Golden Fleece: Essays 
by Muriel Spark, edited by Penelope Jardine.
Carcanet, 226 pp., £16.99, March 2014, 978 1 84777 251 0
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... wholesomely into too much flashbulb.’ It isn’t hard to imagine Spark’s feelings about being called ‘sturdy’ and ‘oatmeal-faced’, or indeed an ‘English rose’, and her biographer, MartinStannard, seems surprised that Schiff wasn’t added to her extensive shit list.* A male friend of Spark’s quoted in Schiff’s profile, who inadvertently misdated the breakdown she had in the ...
4 July 1985
Multiple Personality and the Disintegration of Literary Character 
by Jeremy Hawthorn.
Edward Arnold, 146 pp., £15, May 1983, 0 7131 6398 4
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Doubles: Studies in Literary History 
by Karl Miller.
Oxford, 488 pp., £19.50, June 1985, 9780198128410
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The Doubleman 
by C.J. Koch.
Chatto, 326 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 9780701129453
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... The best doubles – Dickens is the prime case – are in some degree somnambulists, whose powers depend on working in obscurity and breaking out in unfamiliar fashion on the page. Miller writes on Martin Amis as ‘the latest of Anglo-America’s dualistic artists’ for whom ‘the world wavers,’ as we read in Money, and ‘people are doubling.’ Maybe so, but taken in this spirit the process ...

Different Speeds, Same Furies

Perry Anderson: Powell v. Proust

19 July 2018
Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hamish Hamilton, 509 pp., £25, October 2017, 978 0 241 14383 4
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... Tadié and William Carter; Joyce, at 59, eight hundred from Richard Ellmann. Moving down the scale to medium or lightweights, there is little reduction in size. If we confine ourselves to Britain, MartinStannard produced a thousand pages on Evelyn Waugh, who died when he was 62; Graham Greene, who survived him by a quarter of a century, received two thousand from Norman Sherry. These are huge tomes ...

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