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Curriculum Vitae: A Volume Of Autobiography

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  158 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
This autobiography, now in paperback, offers a wonderfully vivid account of the people and places that inspired so much of Muriel Spark's writing, such as The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Here, readers will find high comedy, betrayal, rigorous intelligence, the odd twist of faith, and mysterious grace--all the elements that have delighted her readers for more than 35 years. ...more
Published October 2nd 2001 by Penguin UK (first published 1992)
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Nov 11, 2009 umberto rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
I finished reading this memoir yesterday (February 2, 2009) and found it interesting since the author wrote so well and clearly that we readers can understand how her literay life had developed and why. It all started some 35 years ago in the late 70s when I watched a film entitled, "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" in a movie theatre on Sukhumvit Road (defunct, a small shopping mall instead there). The film was so wonderful that I kept wondering who wrote such a fantastic novel. I'm not sure how ...more
Dec 31, 2010 Terry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
I am essentially completely unfamiliar with most of Spark's works; I took this off the shelf because it was shelved near Death and the Maidens, and I felt like some good British-literature-author-writing over the recent rainstorms. I enjoyed the description of her childhood in Scotland and some of her World War II and post-war descriptions. She has a very arch wit and I felt many raised eyebrows and significant looks from her, which was fun. However, she seemed to gloss over quite a lot of heart ...more
I didn't really know that much about Muriel Spark other than that she was Scottish and I have been enjoying reading her books. So it was interesting to read her autobiography covering the first few decades of her life. Starting off with her childhood in Edinburgh, where she was born in 1918, through her marriage in Africa, living in various parts of Rhodesia, then back to the UK working in London, first with the foreign office during the second world war, and then various jobs on various artisti ...more
I should probably have read this before reading the large authorized biography. Still, that's not really a problem. The two books have different goals and points of view. This memoir, read as literature, is quite engaging for the first five chapters, and follows in a perhaps now-defunct tradition of autobiographies by writers or other highly literate figures wherein the author beautifully evokes the past without dwelling heavily on her/his own psychology and feelings. Chapter six, which deals wi ...more
Richard Jespers
Nov 09, 2014 Richard Jespers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spark has many fine nuggets in this volume. As author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, she introduces the reader to the teacher in her life, the woman who inspires the character. I love how she admires this teacher for being so different from the others in her school, how Miss Kay speaks brashly of her own life, her own feelings and thoughts. This may be one way that Spark is inspired to become a writer. Spark continues by describing a number of eccentric teachers in her schooling, all of whom ...more
Richard Thomas
A clear eyed unsentimental autobiography. A model for others perhaps
Jan 26, 2016 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. She is a very careful writer and I loved her use of semicolons. I too find them useful. The segment I most enjoyed was her chronicle of all the jobs and part time employment she needed to slog through to get to spend her time writing full time. I will be reading The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie as my further immersion in Muriel Spark. Thanks Muriel!
Mar 30, 2015 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Muriel Sparks a lot, most anything she has written. She wrote this autobiography when she was 37, partly, I think to offset untruths that were already emerging. She is mostly kind and witty about these people who are dishing out nonsense, but she is a woman who has a firm grip on reason. I enjoyed this; just not as much as some of her fiction.
Dec 11, 2011 Amari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Witty, spunky, high-spirited. I haven't read any of Spark's work previously, and I plan to. A wonderfully observant and detailed romp through Edinburgh in the 1930s; thoughts on being white in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and South Africa around 1940; wartime UK; and delightfully narrated nasty little trials and tests of a young woman in a position of professional authority. Great fun, though I don't disagree with other readers' comments that the subject of Spark's son seems a bit dubious. It is ...more
Interesting, but a little dry.
Jan 21, 2016 ManO rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fine, fine work.
Jul 08, 2012 Mk100 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
I adore Muriel Sparks' novels. Reading her memoir illuminates context for several of her novels and characters, not least Jean Brodie. Unfortunately, what also comes through is that Spark can be very petty, carrying grudges over seemingly minor matters for decades, and airing them against people who are dead or who are not writers and therefore can't effectively answer. It's not an admirable aspect of her character. But overall, I loved the book, as I do all her writing.
I liked this, but started reading it at a bad time. I got about 1/3 of the way through before the library started breathing down my back and I had to return it (after several renewal attempts!). However, that said, I will get back to this. I really enjoyed what I did accomplish, but it's a relatively directionless memoir, so there wasn't anything enticing enough to pull me through it despite distractions.
E A M Harris
Sep 13, 2011 E A M Harris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliantly written (as you would expect). Very interesting on her childhood in Edinburgh and her semi-secret war work. A bit light on how she felt about things.

I particularly disliked the part where she was spiteful about someone she didn't get on with. In my opinion a public work of literature is not the place for personal vendettas.
Jul 14, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, on-a-plane
If you haven't read Spark before, this probably isn't the starting place. But it was delightful if you already know her work. Some fragments are brilliant, others are just interesting. Read it on a flight.
Snagged on a whim from the recently returned library book cart after seeing the first three sections in the first chapter are subtitled Bread, Butter and Tea. I need cozy in the summertime you see.
Jul 25, 2011 Nita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll never forget Muriel Spark's description of the Victoria Falls...
Mar 13, 2013 Alice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Found this book in Mary's home in Spain. Very interesting biography
Apr 23, 2013 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Funny, well-written and a pleasure to read.
Aug 04, 2014 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-murielspark
Interesting, but I wanted more.
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Dame Muriel Spark, DBE was a prolific Scottish novelist, short story writer, and poet whose darkly comedic voice made her one of the most distinctive writers of the twentieth century. In 2008 The Times newspaper named Spark in its list of "the 50 greatest British writers since 1945".

Spark received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1965 for The Mandelbaum Gate, the Ingersoll Foundation TS Eli
More about Muriel Spark...

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“The sparkle and morning-freshness of the shop, and the butter-conjuring girl, formed a mind-picture which accompanied the whole of my youth.(about the Buttercup Dairy)” 0 likes
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