Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

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

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,961None1,943 (3.74)357
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

Work details

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

1001 (38) 1001 books (42) 1930s (31) 1960s (21) 20th century (90) betrayal (20) British (61) British fiction (16) British literature (58) classic (51) classics (36) coming of age (54) Edinburgh (74) education (43) English (22) English literature (31) fascism (28) fiction (558) Folio Society (54) literature (56) novel (110) read (42) school (66) Scotland (123) Scottish (47) Scottish literature (30) teachers (40) to-read (50) unread (20) women (33)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 357 mentions

English (79)  Dutch (1)  All languages (80)
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
This book was pretty cute. I will admit, Miss Brodie is a fairly unlikable main character. She's manipulative, repetitive(she repeats the phrase "in my prime" about a gazillion times, I think we get the point, LOL), a fairly open fascist, & she bucks the system in every way, shape, & form she can get away with, LOL. Throughout the book as well as her teaching career, she is ever on the verge of being fired. She may be unlikable, but she's never boring. Her girls are all very different as well. The narrator, being all knowing & all seeing, gives us flashes of what their futures may hold. Some good, some bad, like most of us.

All in all, I enjoyed this. This is the second of Dame Spark's books I've read, & I'm looking forward to reading more of her work... ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 11, 2014 |
Re-read. For me, this has lost none of its charm in the decades since I first read it. I would love to see again the film adaptation with Maggie Smith in the lead role - at the time I thought it even better than the book. ( )
  janglen | Apr 7, 2014 |
Miss Jean Brodie is a teacher at a girl's school in Scotland in the 1930s. She thinks very highly of herself, regardless of what others think of her. She's in her prime, and she thinks her students are very fortunate to have her as their teacher while she's in her prime. She has little respect for authority. Miss Brodie hand-picks a half dozen girls who become known as the “Brodie set” - girls who she believes will yield to her influence and, more importantly, whose parents won't interfere with her methods. Even after the “Brodie set” moves on to the upper level with different teachers, Miss Brodie continues to maintain control over their lives. However, her control isn't as strong as she believes it is...

The audio version narrated by the delightful Nadia May possibly weakened the psychological tension for me. I think I would have been more appalled by Miss Brodie's manipulation of impressionable young girls if I had read the book rather than listened to it. I was fascinated by Spark's method of telling her story, which isn't exactly linear. She foreshadows the fate of most of the major characters, but she does it in such a way that the reader (or listener in my case) is compelled to keep reading/listening to learn not what will happen, but rather what will cause it to happen. This short novel is worthy of more than one reading. I'd suggest trying the audio version on the second or third visit to pick up nuances you might have missed in your first reading. ( )
  cbl_tn | Mar 27, 2014 |
4.5/5Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life.It wasn't until recently that I became aware of how teachers had viewed me during my high school years. To be frank, I was surprised that they had acknowledged me at all, let alone discussed me amongst themselves. This discussion extended out from time to time to parents associated with the school, one of whom is now a very good friend of mine and my reason for knowing about this at all. I was liked, apparently, for being a quiet and studious little girl, likely noticed despite said quietness due to being the lone white face in many of the advanced classes but that, of course, is only suspicion. In those days I excelled in the art of keeping myself to my self, especially in regards to those keepers of test scores and other belovedly loathed idols of my youth, so I had no inkling of this overarching benevolent gaze, to the point of being flabbergasted in senior year at finding many an enthusiastic response to my request for recommendation letters. Who knew.

Of course, this lack of major interaction between my younger self and academic personas was a double edged sword. Perhaps a little more insistence from one of my favorite English teachers would have saved me years of mistaken pursuit of a Bioengineering degree, putting me via influential measures on my current path and avoiding all that fumbling around with personal choice. However, when looking at a book like this, I see the time I spent finding myself as well worth the cost of years and money and all that jazz. My distrust for authority figures may be on the paranoid side, but my questioning of everyone and everything alongside painstakingly gained self-worth has, is, and will continue to serve me better than any other tool at my disposal.

Thus, I see this Miss Jean Brodie as a seductive force that would have easily bowled me over in my younger days. Those times are long past, and her sway has been reduced by time to a portion of her power, a slogan in essence of that aesthetically minded mob machination of Fascism so well known to history. For every appealing remark in the realm of Literature and the Arts, there's the blind assuming in regards to Science, Math, Politics, Religion, etc. There's also that discombobulated aura of feminism of the hypocritical sort, something I wouldn't have known to look for in my youth and a key factor of why I have never had the desire to return to my childhood mentality.

The directness with which the author presents this miniature treatise on pedagogy never struck me as obtuse, as there's quite a bit more going on within the boundaries of this slim, sharp-shooting novel. I've heard of Spark excelling in the microenvironmental scope, and she doesn't fail in my first introduction to her fiction. The pointed way she captures that muddled feeling of school, that of one's time being filled with so much cramming of information while in reality knowing little of anything important, is especially impressive. I do like my literature that takes childhood seriously, and while this is no [b:The Instructions|8380409|The Instructions|Adam Levin|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1287702723s/8380409.jpg|13237247], there's a cynical naïvety to it that I well recognize.

While I would better remember and hold my school years in more esteem had I encountered an incarnation of Miss Jean Brodie in her prime, I spend enough time as it is in deconstructing all that I thought I knew in those days of desks and paper and the persistent feeling of an invisible cage, otherwise known as bits and pieces solipsism. Looking at how the woman in her prime ended up, rattling on the same rails of so many years as little more than a broken tape recorder, I'd say I got the greener side for my own satisfaction of sensibilities. Besides, all that vicarious chess game living with a side of psychosomatic sexuality? Creepy. ( )
  Korrick | Feb 26, 2014 |
I think I'd read/heard too much about this book before I read it, and came in with too many expectations. The most helpful bookstore worker ever (no, really, great guy) recommended it for my wife as an airport read, proclaiming it 'delightful.' And so it is. In 'Whatever Happened to Modernism?', Gabriel Josipovici said that the only two post-war British writers worth reading were Golding (whom I like) and Spark, thus leading me to expect some crazy-dense work of high art. Improbably, both Josipovici and my favorite bookstore clerk were right: it is a real "writer's book" (complex narrative techniques of the type that narratologists spend years studying; experimental moves like the repeated epithets and jarring, challenging transitions). It also led me into a series of theological, moral and political trains of thought for which I couldn't find a conclusion either in the novel or my head. Despite, or maybe even because of all this, it really is delightful. I don't know how she pulled it off, but I'm impressed, and look forward to re-reading.
Also, to the reviewer who complained about an omniscient narrator: all narrators are omniscient, some just pretend that they're an individual person in order to make themselves feel better. ( )
1 vote stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 79 (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 (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Muriel Sparkprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Margolyes, MiriamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McWilliam, CandiaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whitlau, W.A.C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
'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,..'
Last words
(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)
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Information from the Catalan Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:26 -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 5 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
16 avail.
118 wanted
4 pay4 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.74)
0.5 1
1 12
1.5 2
2 46
2.5 23
3 151
3.5 87
4 275
4.5 42
5 140


Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141181427, 0241956773

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 89,470,081 books! | Top bar: Always visible