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The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie: A Novel…

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

by Muriel Spark

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3,182891,758 (3.75)397
Title:The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie: A Novel (P.S.)
Authors:Muriel Spark
Info:Harper Perennial Modern Classics (2009), Paperback, 160 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, Classic, 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 (86)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (89)
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
Dazzling work of art. A portrait of a woman done with a waspish wit - a teacher of young girls, who often refers to being in her prime. I can imagine this as a reverse image of "Goodbye, Mister Chips." The author has a command of technique that is impressive. Not a laugh out loud satire but more of a "how awful that is" satire. There are elements of religion involved as well as the psychology of the teacher and her students. Set in Edinburgh in the 30's there are hints of what predestination in the telling of the story which is appropriate for that stronghold of Calvinism. I am sure I will look for more by Muriel Spark and now I realize why the book is so highly praised. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
The girls of "the Brodie set" are introduced all at once, but are all well delineated since they run a gamut of personalities you could only find clustered under a common bond in a classroom. It's their teacher who's the most interesting. Miss Brodie is like a bad flavour of Julie Andrews' character from "The Sound of Music". She brings progressive ideas to bear on her young pupils, but at the cost of discarding their regular education, promoting intolerance for other views, and drawing them into a loyal circle of her own making and command. She speaks of her approach as a drawing out of what lies within each girl rather than impressing an education upon them, but this is precisely the opposite of what happens.

The author does some interesting things with time, flashing forwards and back, lending immediate dramatic irony to the first reading since we learn by degrees how things will turn out. Certain scenes are repeated for different effects the first and second time among all this skipping about, and some hints are proven to have different interpretations than the obvious. The unusual style reflects the story's content, a non-standard education in how it all plays out. It demonstrates how interpretations can be manipulated by the manner in which facts are delivered. This was a short enough read to sustain the odd approach and make it something special. ( )
  Cecrow | May 4, 2015 |
The titular Miss Jean Brodie is a classic character, flawed, ingenious, devastating, and brimming with confidence bordering, and often crossing into arrogance.

As a teacher, she cultivates a close relationship with six of her female students, the infamous Brodie set. Principally there is Rose, who is famous for sex; Mary, the maligned and doomed scapegoat; and Sandy, the voracious reader and daydreamer. Miss Brodie ignores arithmetic and history in favor of tales of her torrid romances, high culture, and shapes their mind - "Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life", as she is apt to say.

Miss Brodie's own love life becomes inextricably linked to the girls' paths in life, and as they grow up, they begin to see how much their former teacher has marked their lives and shaped them. One of them betrays Miss Brodie to the headmistress, revealing her disastrous infatuation with fascism, and, forced to retire, Miss Brodie reaches the end of her prime.

The joy of this story is in the characters, who are sketched so simply but sharply, all the same, and the deft hand of Sparks, who never comes out and tells you how to feel. You both admire and pity Miss Jean Brodie. The deeper story, of course, revolves around Sandy and Miss Brodie, who are more alike than they would like to admit, but diametrically opposed. They are negatives of each other and their actions mimic, rejoin, and oppose each others' - Miss Brodie is Calvin's Providence put up against Sandy's Catholicism. She is the guiltless, whereas Sandy flinches from her actions.

In a lesser writer's hands, the story would seem trite and tired; in Sparks's, it is as sparkling and memorable as her creation of Miss Jean Brodie in her prime. ( )
  kittyjay | Apr 23, 2015 |
A deliciously wry coming of age novella ( )
  bodachliath | Feb 24, 2015 |
This is not necessarily one of my favorite books, but even so I think it's a -perfect- book, in the same way The Great Gatsby is a perfect book--everything is right about it, from setting to characters to story; and it all flows beautifully; and in the end you're changed by having read it. ( )
  poingu | Jan 29, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (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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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.
'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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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141181427, 0241956773

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