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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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3,226931,719 (3.76)406
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
Tags:Fiction, 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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» See also 406 mentions

English (90)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (93)
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
I'm less fond of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and The Girls of Slender Means, but The Driver's Seat and The Only Problem were fabulous. All a bit more depressing than most of what I've read by Muriel Spark, but still fabulous. ( )
  MizPurplest | Sep 21, 2015 |
What a delight. A palate-cleanser after a big stodgy science fiction work with less of interest to say than this book manages on every page. ( )
  adzebill | Sep 8, 2015 |
I have been wanting to read this book for quite some time, and just this last year it was chosen as a book club selection with my group. I have heard many glowing reviews of this novel and now that I have read it, the reviews have me confused. I am not part of the crowd that found enjoyment from this book.

For the most part, this book was boring for me. When it wasn't boring, I think it actually made me angry. As a teacher in a girls school she would hand-pick a group of girls to be her prodigies. All the girls in school wanted to be a part of the "Brodie set", so you can imagine the status given to the girls that are selected. This part of the book made me angry, that these girls were thought of as being better than the rest. Since when is it ok for a teacher to cultivate dividing lines among students?

Once the girls are chosen, Miss Brodie would meet with them during the schooldays. These meeting should have been full of teaching instruction and lessons, but they were everything but that. Contrary to the summary above, it didn't seem to me she was bringing out the best in them, as much as flaunting her own good fortune of love and beauty.

I had a hard time with the dialogue and timelines in this book. Many times the book would be a flashback from present time and there were not always clear indicators of this change. This book was hard for me to read and understand, and most of my book club agreed. If you are one of the people that loved this book, I would love to know what, exactly, you find inspiring.

With themes of love, deception, and beauty, maybe you would like this book more than I did. I know many people found more enjoyment from this novel than me. ( )
  jo-jo | Aug 22, 2015 |
I don’t know why I went on a bit of a Muriel Spark kick this week. I’ve read this and Memento Mori before; but it seems to be some law of physics that with a few exceptions, if I read it before my son was born, it doesn’t count. If I read it when I was a kid, I probably read it six or seven times. I was an obsessive re-reader. So the Narnia books and A Wrinkle In Time and Jane Eyre and assorted Stephen King books have stayed with me and always will. But anything I picked up once in my adult life, previous to 16 years ago? Gone, baby, gone.

So the only thing I remembered from this strange novel (and “strange” seems to be a required word when describing the works of Muriel Spark) was that the bizarre title character is a teacher at a girls’ school in Edinburgh, and she has a small group of students to whom she’s devoted. And vice versa – or so she thinks. But one of them will go on to betray her.

That’s all I remembered. That, and the fact that one of the main characters, Sandy Stranger, was always experiencing what she thought of as her “double life,” walking and conversing in a private world made up of her own imagination.

If either Sandy or Miss Brodie sound benevolent or sweet, I’m telling this wrong.

This passage is the perfect description of Miss Jean Brodie:

She was not in any doubt, she let everyone know she was in no doubt, that God was on her side whatever her course, and so she experienced no difficulty or sense of hypocrisy in worship while at the same time she went to bed with the singing master. Just as an excessive sense of guilt can drive people to excessive action, so was Miss Brodie driven to it by an excessive lack of guilt.

And here is teenaged Sandy Stranger, faultlessly answering questions in class while in her imagination she composes a formal dinner invitation to Alan Breck, the hero of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Kidnapped, with whom Sandy has already mentally enjoyed “a breath-taking flight through the heather.” She imagines his surprise at receiving this invitation to “the lonely harbor house on the coast of Fife...of which Sandy had now by devious means become the mistress. Alan Breck would arrive in full Highland dress. Supposing that passion struck upon them in the course of the evening and they were swept away into sexual intercourse?”

Sandy is at once fascinated and repelled by this thought. “She argued with herself, surely people have time to think, they have to stop to think while they are taking their clothes off, and if they stop to think, how can they be swept away?”

A very strange book, indeed, shot through with Spark’s signature dark humor.
( )
  Deborah_Markus | Aug 8, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 90 (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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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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