Muriel Sarah Spark: The Comforters

(2298 words)

Muriel Spark's The Comforters (1957) was written in unusual circumstances during the years 1954-5. In the early 1950s, Spark was making headway in her career as a writer of both poetry and literary criticism, when she fell ill. The symptoms caused her to see the words she was writing moving and changing shape on the page. Her illness resulted from a poor diet (not uncommon during postwar food rationing) and taking dexedrine tablets as an appetite suppressant (Spark's autobiography, Curriculum Vitae, pp.203-13). She spent her convalescence, having recently converted to Roman Catholicism, in a Carmelite monastery in Aylesford, Kent, and then at Allington Castle, a Carmelite convent. She transformed these life experiences …

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Scullion, Val. "The Comforters". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 May 2003
[, accessed 06 July 2015.]