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The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie: A Novel…
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The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie: A Novel (P.S.) (original 1961; edition 2009)

by Muriel Spark

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3,5671151,480 (3.74)451
Member:Fourpawz2
Title:The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie: A Novel (P.S.)
Authors:Muriel Spark
Info:Harper Perennial Modern Classics (2009), Paperback, 160 pages
Collections:Fiction, Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Fiction, Fiction - Classic, Literature, Classic - Scottish, They Made A Movie From It, Schools, 20th century

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The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (1961)

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English (110)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  All (115)
Showing 1-5 of 110 (next | show all)
I recently had the opportunity to watch the movie version of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie for the first time (see here for my review of that over at film-nerd social network Letterboxd.com); and I was so blown away by how unexpected, original and surprisingly dark it was, I decided to check out the original novel it was based on from my local library right afterwards. And indeed, the novel is great as well, although this is one of those rare cases when I think I actually like the movie version even better; and that's because the book is written in an experimental style where the narrator is constantly hopping back and forth between time periods, randomly doling out hugely important act-three shocking moments in just weird little afterthought comments during the "present-day" storyline. Although this narrative experimentation is admirable, I found myself better responding to the same story being told in a more traditional way, where we don't find out about the spoiler-heavy fates of Miss Brodie's young students until after having a chance to get to know them and get invested in their fates.

In any case, it's a real stunner of a story if you're not familiar with it already. Ostensibly the tale of a prim middle-aged teacher at an all-girl's academy in 1930s Scotland, the setting plus its Mid-Century Modernist release date led me to believe that it was going to be some sugary family story along the lines of Mary Poppins; but instead it's a surprisingly dense and subversive character study about authoritarianism, how the actions of childhood affect us as adults, and where exactly the line lays between proper and improper relationships between teachers and students. Realize, though, that this summary doesn't do this complicated and always surprising story justice; the charming, infuriating, fascism-loving Miss Brodie is in fact one of the most complicated characters I've ever come across in a modern novel, and her actions and attitudes will have the same mind-messing effect that it has on the small pool of impressionable junior-high girls she takes under her wing every year in order to "mold them in her image." An unforgettable story that's way more wicked and sometimes just plain evil than its genteel setting would indicate, do yourself a favor and make sure to check out both the book and movie versions, each of which follow the same plot but tell their stories in very different ways. ( )
  jasonpettus | Mar 8, 2017 |
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark first appeared in the New Yorker Magazine and then was published in book form in 1961. This short book of only 127 pages is both elegant and stylish in it’s tale of an unorthodox teacher and her special, and ultimately dangerous relationship with a group of her students. Set in 1930’s Edinburgh, Miss Brodie feels she is entering her “prime” and intends to mold her small group of six girls into the creme d’la creme. Ignoring the preset curriculum she instead instructs them in such varied things as poetry, makeup, her own love life and her admiration for the Italian fascist leader, Mussolini. We learn that one of the girls eventually betrays Miss Brodie, although Miss Brodie never learns which one.

To these young, naive and impressionable young girls Miss Brodie is sophisticated, artistic and glamorous unlike the rest of the more conservative and narrow-minded adults in their lives. They do not see that this woman is over-compensating for the littleness of her life. Through her influence the girls get involved in adult affairs far beyond their years and eventually due to her influence, a young girl runs off to Spain to fight in the Civil War where she subsequently died.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie will be a book that I will long remember. As I was reading I couldn’t help but visualize the 1969 performance of actress Maggie Smith as Miss Jean Brodie. She captured all the nuances of this manipulative yet pathetic woman who involved her students in her own personal drama and abused her authority by encouraging her students in inappropriate behaviour. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Feb 13, 2017 |
This I remember (when I was much younger) was a widely acclaimed movie & book... So when I read a re cent review here, I figured that there was no reason for me to not read it.....

I wanted to like this book, but I didn't:

The way it was written jumping around from person to person, forward, back, & forward again.... made for a very confusing story line.

Miss Jean Brodie was stilted, pretentious & boring.

The students were as boring & not very likable.... ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 8, 2017 |
For a large part this is a rather superficial novel, suited only for young adult girls. At the end it becomes more serious, but in a highly improbable way. ( )
  stef7sa | Jan 5, 2017 |
I was fooled by the first thirty pages of this novel - which to be fair to myself, is already a quarter of the entire book -, thinking it was another light-hearted take on the dark and quirky characterisations - as Spark did in A Far Cry to Kensington - of an academic clique entranced by their charismatic teacher - as The Secret History and its wannabe did. It turns out that under this superficial coating, there was a dark current, an intricate and complex plot dealing with Miss Jean Brodie and her set as a microcosm of facism and Calvinism. And it was all so excellently and almost-subtly done, with its repetitive almost-cutesy catchphrases, prescient flashforwards, and bildungsroman façade, this novel is well worth re-reading for a full effect. Recommended for high-schoolers upwards. ( )
1 vote kitzyl | Nov 27, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 110 (next | show all)
She writes with cool exactness, a firm voice (each tale has its own) and compassionate wit. In her new novel (originally published last fall, in shorter form, in The New Yorker), she deals with a violent woman whose romantic spirit is impatient with all but the Absolute.
 

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Spark, Murielprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barbero, SilviaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blythe, GaryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dilé, LéoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
袁凤珠Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gripiõtēs, NikosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gubler, AugustoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hirata, GeniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kosturkov, ĬordanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Margolyes, MiriamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McWilliam, CandiaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mihăiță, GigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Naujack, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Özgören, PürenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Omboni, IdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paz, MagdeleineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pedrolo, Manuel deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Periquito, MargaridaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosen, Ingeborg vonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Uhrynowska-Hanasz, ZofiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whitlau, W.A.C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
The boys, as they talked to the girls from Marcia Blaine School, stood on the far side of their bicycles holding the handlebars, which established a protective fence of bicycle between the sexes, and the impression that at any moment, the boys were likely to be away.
Quotations
'This is Stanley Baldwin who got in as Prime Minister and got out again ere long,' said Miss Brodie. 'Miss Mackay retains him on the wall because she believes in the slogan "Safety First". But Safety does not come first. Goodness, Trust and Beauty come first. Follow me.
"We shall discuss tomorrow night the persons who oppose me' said Miss Brodie. 'But rest assured they shall not succeed.''No,' said everyone. 'No, Of course they won't.''Not while I am in my prime. It is important to recognize the years of one's prime, always remember that,..'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
"La Vera Miss Brodie" is not the same work as "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie": it is an Italian article. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie = Gli anni in fiore della signorina Brodie (or Gli anni fulgenti di miss Brodie)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060931736, Paperback)

The elegantly styled classic story of a young, unorthodox teacher and her special--and ultimately dangerous--relationship with six of her students.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:30 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A teacher at a girl's school in Edinburgh during the 1930s comes into conflict with school authorities because of her unorthodox teaching methods.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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Editions: 0141181427, 0241956773

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