Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing


Social sciences, Language, literature and linguistics, Scotland


M. J. Manley




This thesis is a study of the demonic element as it is found in the writings of Muriel Spark. Its purpose is to examine the development of this device and to estimate its influence on her style.

The introductory chapter outlines the works Mrs. Spark has produced to date. It sketches the influences in the author's life and attempts to show their relationship to her novels. In this section the motivating force behind her writing is determined in order that it may be used as a guide for the intensive studies in the succeeding chapters.

Detailed examination is limited to two specific books. Chapter Two deals with The Comforters; in this novel I have traced and analysed the diabolic characteristics of the demonic figure. This same procedure is used in Chapter Three to treat The Ballad of Peckham Rye; here, in addition, I have shown the development of Mrs. Spark's style in her handling of the demonic element as well as the contrasts between the two books.

My study of Mrs. Spark indicates that she is deliberately using the diabolic element and has drawn upon reliable classical sources to authenticate her creations. It is evident that she is not writing just another kind of science fiction. In view of her recurrent theme of conversion I conclude that she has chosen this special approach for moral purposes. She aims to reveal, without homiletics, the sinfulness of the world and its easy subservience to the demon. She is a new version of the moral critic of the world for she is the still small voice to the collective mind of man.