Critical Context

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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 198

The Takeover is one of Spark’s later novels, and, as she makes clear in the subtitle to one of the British editions of the novel, it is “a parable of the pagan seventies.” Underlying the political and moral takeovers in the novel is the materializing of apparitions—a false transfiguration that...

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The Takeover is one of Spark’s later novels, and, as she makes clear in the subtitle to one of the British editions of the novel, it is “a parable of the pagan seventies.” Underlying the political and moral takeovers in the novel is the materializing of apparitions—a false transfiguration that is a form of demonology. As Spark’s narrator explains, the characters of the novel have “personalized and demonologized the abstractions of their lives, believing them to be fundamentally real, indeed changeless.” The novel is thus a strong indictment of a world morally askew, one populated by those who believe, like Hubert, that reality is an appearance and that appearances are reality.

One of Spark’s greatest gifts is her satiric vision. Writing in the midst of the decade she is satirizing, Spark is able to remain outside the world of appearances she creates. The subject of The Takeover is good and evil, and the novel questions the morality of the modern world. A Catholic and a satirist, Spark is casting a critical eye on a decade transformed by materialism and power. As shrewd an observer as she is, her glance is both true and unwavering.

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