Quote of the Day
Carcanet Press is our most courageous publisher. When you look at what they have brought out since their beginnings, it makes so many other houses seem timid or merely predictable.
Subscribe to our mailing list
Categories: 20th Century, British, Scottish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (168 pages)
(Pub. May 2016)
Before she published her distinguished novels, Muriel Spark first made her name as a critic and poet. Her discerning study of the poet and novelist John Masfield will therefore be doubly welcome, as an example of her earlier work, and as one of the best introductions to Masefield. With characteristic insight, Spark shows Masfield’s development as a storyteller, through his early lyrics to his long narrative poems and finally his prose, together with his gift for observation of the life around him.
John Masefield (1878–1967) lived a life as varied as his work. At the age of fifteen he went to sea as an apprentice in a windjammer and made the voyage round Cape Horn. The next three years he spent in New York, in a bakery, a livery stable, a saloon and a carpet factory. Back in England, he wrote for the Guardian and in the First World War served with the Red Cross. Throughout these years he had been writing poetry, and when in 1923 his Collected Poems appeared they sold over 200,000 copies. In 1930 he succeeded Robert Bridges as Poet Laureate. He was a prodigious novelist, essayist and poet; among his best known works are The Everlasting Mercy, Dauber, Reynard the Fox, Sard Marker and The Midnight Folk. ‘I feel a large amount of my writing on him can be applied generally’, wrote Spark in 1992: ‘It is in many ways a statement of my position as a literary critic and I hope some readers will recognise it as such.’
Praise for Muriel Spark 'Mysterious, haunting, meticulously wrought.'
'Spark achieves precisely what she sets out to: no surprise to us now but pretty impressive given that this was her first book.'
Zoë Strachan, Scottish Review of Books 'The style is bracingly familiar â beady, ironic, acidulous... She is an astute critic.'
Anthony Quinn, Daily Mail Like all her work, surprising, beautifully written, and with unnerving glimpses into the abyss which lies, always, beneath our feet.
- John Mortimer, Evening Standard
'The marvellous thing about Muriel Spark's writing is that...it never gets knotted up in its own so-sharp-she'll-cut-herself cleverness. Spark's writing has a subtle merriment about it, a lightness of touch, a willingness to share in fleeting moments of mundane love and pleasure.'
Jenny Turner, London Review of Books
'Like all her work, surprising, beautifully written, and with unnerving glimpses into the abyss which lies, always, beneath our feet.'
John Mortimer, Evening Standard
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2023 Carcanet Press Ltd