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Spectrum of Emotions

From Love to Grief


Edited By Wojciech Drąg and Ewa Kębłowska-Ławniczak

The authors of this volume discuss the tangible need for a revision of the vocabulary of emotion used in literary criticism and culture studies. The articles offer a wide range of interdisciplinary approaches to emotional states such as love, shame, grief, nostalgia and trauma. They demonstrate that the once stable concept of emotion disintegrates in the course of re-evaluation and is replaced by such notions as affects, passions, feelings and emotions. This volume examines the representations of emotion in drama, poetry and prose – from the anonymous Court of Love (ca. 1500) to Ali Smith’s How to Be Both (2014) – as well as in life writing, music, the visual arts and theology.
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Wojciech Kozak - Envy Revisited: Muriel Spark’s The Finishing School


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Wojciech Kozak

Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin

Envy Revisited: Muriel Spark’s The Finishing School

Muriel Spark’s novel The Finishing School, published in 2004, has met with a largely unfavourable, if not hostile, reception. Critics have found the book crude and tedious (Eilberg 22), have written that it “reads more like a parody of a Muriel Spark novel than the real thing” (Kakutani) and called it “an embarrassment” (Crumey).1 These charges are refuted by John Lanchester, who, referring to the term coined by Edward Said, interprets the book as a manifestation of “lateness” in Spark’s fiction, explaining that works written at the end of an author’s literary career “combine an absolute control and mastery with a kind of sketchiness, a speedy glossing-over of the aspects with which the artist can no longer be bothered” (193). The question of The Finishing School being a masterpiece aside, it is interesting to have a closer look at Spark’s last novel, for, in many aspects, it does sum up her literary achievement by making use of her favourite techniques and returning to a number of issues that lie at the core of her writing.2 Among them is the feeling of professional envy, to which the author was frequently exposed, especially at the beginning of her literary career.3 ← 205 | 206 →

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