The social-scientific imagination: Muriel Spark's The Ballad of Peckham Rye

Sarah Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article concentrates on Muriel Spark’s The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960) and its indirect and mediated representation of the welfare state in the form of a ‘social-scientific imagination’, manifested in both cultural ideology and literary form. The ‘social-scientific imagination’ describes the textual engagement of Spark’s novel with the language and technique of newly professionalised social-scientific disciplines, in particular with new sociological studies of working life. In its representation of a shift in official modes of organising the social body, Spark's novel prefigures the ideological undermining of the welfare state through the invocation of individual responsibility and anti-bureaucratization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-319
JournalMFS: Modern Fiction Studies
Volume68
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • British fiction
  • midcentury
  • women's fiction
  • social-scientific imagination
  • welfare state

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