restricted access Angels, Dancers, Mermaids: The Hidden History of Peckham in Muriel Spark’s The Ballad of Peckham Rye

What led Muriel Spark, who is generally regarded as an author alive to the imaginative possibilities of milieu, to set The Ballad of Peckham Rye in a drab south London suburb? This essay examines Spark’s acerbic representation of suburban modernity through the lenses of urban, cultural, and folk history. Viewed through these multiple prisms, the homogenized space of Spark’s novel reveals a latent disruptive reserve that unexpectedly aligns it with some of the most dynamic aspects of Scottish tradition.