Lost and Found

The Making of the Woman Author
  • Mary Eagleton


Three facts converge — gender, being an artist and historical moment. In Loitering with Intent, we read Fleur Talbot’s autobiography as she looks back to a decisive period of ten months, from September 1949 to the end of June 1950, when she acted as secretary to Sir Quentin Oliver’s Autobiographical Association and had accepted for publication her first novel, Warrender Chase. Fleur repeats this thought about the wonder of being a woman and an artist in the middle of the twentieth century on two further occasions. Her adaptation of Beneventuto Cellini’s comment, ‘I am now going on my way rejoicing’, is repeated with slight amendments a further five times. Like Fleur, Muriel Spark quotes Cellini. Her autobiography, Curriculum Vitae, also ends with the publication of a first novel, The Comforters. Reading the laudatory reviews that her editor, Alan Maclean had brought for her to see, Spark comments: ‘However, I took great heart from what he said and went on my way rejoicing’.2 The Comforters too is a novel from the mid-century, finished in late 1955 and published in 1957. It concerns a literary critic, Caroline Rose (another character whose name signifies flower), who is about to write her first novel, precisely Spark’s situation at that time and close to Fleur’s situation in Loitering With Intent.


Literary Critic Historical Moment Literary Field Woman Author Moral Vocabulary 
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© Mary Eagleton 2005

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  • Mary Eagleton

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