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Genuine Artifice: Muriel Spark and the Case for Ruthless Authorial Manipulation

  • 4/9/2014 | 7:00 PM – 8:15 PM
  • Location: Moulton Union, Lancaster Lounge
  • Event Type: Lecture

Genuine Artifice: Muriel Spark and the Case for Ruthless Authorial Manipulation

Bowdoin Book Lecture Series (The Comforters by Muriel Spark):

"Genuine Artifice: Muriel Spark and the Case for Ruthless Authorial Manipulation" presented by Brock Clarke, Professor of English and Creative Writing, Bowdoin College

Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Lancaster Lounge, Moulton Union, Bowdoin College

The Association of Bowdoin Friends is pleased to continue this program. All members of the community are invited to read a good book and hear an excellent Bowdoin College professor lecture on it. There will be an opportunity for questions. The event is free and open to the public. Just come, listen, and learn.

Muriel Spark, whose most famous of 21 novels was The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), died on April 13, 2006. She bequeathed a great deal to her surviving readers. Her work can teach much about the pleasures of meanness, the relationship between art and religious belief, the limitations of first-person narration, and self-consciousness and artifice in fiction. "The argument over whether art and artifice are inextricably entwined or antithetical to one another has bedeviled and distracted fiction writers and readers for too long, and my hope is that by examining Spark's work we might be able to read modern literature in a more sophisticated, more rewarding way." Professor Brock Clarke

Brock Clarke is the author of five books of fiction, most recently the novels Exley (which was a Kirkus Book of the Year, a finalist for the Maine Book Award, and a long list finalist for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award) and An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England (which was a national bestseller, and American Library Associate Notable Book of the Year, a #1 Book Sense Pick, a Borders Original Voices in Fiction selection, and a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice pick). His books have been reprinted in a dozen international editions, and have been awarded the Mary McCarthy Prize for Fiction, the Prairie Schooner Book Series Prize, a National Endowment for Arts Fellowship, and an Ohio Council for the Arts Fellowship, among others. Clarke's individual stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Boston Globe, Virginia Quarterly Review, One Story, The Believer, Georgia Review, New England Review, and Southern Review and have appeared in the annual Pushcart Prize and New Stories from the South anthologies and on NPR's Selected Shorts. His sixth book, the novel The Happiest People in the World, will be published in October 2014. He lives in Portland and teaches creative writing at Bowdoin College.