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The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Perennial…

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Perennial Classics) (original 1961; edition 1999)

by Muriel Spark

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A teacher at a girl's school in Edinburgh during the 1930s comes into conflict with school authorities because of her unorthodox teaching methods.
Title:The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Perennial Classics)
Authors:Muriel Spark
Info:Harper Perennial Modern Classics (1999), Edition: 1st Perennial Classics Ed, Paperback, 160 pages
Collections:Your library

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

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» See also 524 mentions

English (138)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  All languages (144)
Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)
I found this book so well written. There is something “experimental” on the writing, but I never felt it overly done. The story is told like a psychological expose of the characters, more than driven by plot.

At the end, I realized that it was an ambiguous take on the “coming of age” genre. The girls coming into themselves as adults, and acquiring – some of them – a layer of contempt and spite. As if by becoming less shallow as persons, they – some of them – also become more malicious. The character of Miss Brodie, although central, at the end becomes more peripheral, but never the less an interesting character.
( )
  RosanaDR | Apr 15, 2021 |
Miss Jean Brodie, a teacher at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls, says of herself that she is in her prime, and has dedicated her prime to shaping the minds of “her” girls. Six of the girls in the junior school become the Brodie Set: absorbing her opinions and interests in art, history and politics, and learning perhaps far too much about love affairs. The school administrators consider Miss Brodie a bad influence and have tried to get rid of her. One day, one of the Brodie Set betrays her. She never finds out who, and the effects of her influence on the girls of the Set carries on through the rest of their lives.

This was an unsettling book. I think I liked it slightly more than Memento Mori, although maybe I have to read Memento Mori again to compare. It was a creepy book because of Mr. Lloyd having an affair with a teenage girl (and being basically pimped out by Miss Brodie, to boot). Not to mention Miss Brodie’s support for fascism, which made uncomfortable reading in these times. The flashing forward and backward added to the unease.

What I really enjoyed were the bits where the girls were writing what would amount to real person fic about Miss Brodie and her dead fiancé, Hugh. The writing samples in the book reminded me so much of my own overwrought teenage fiction, as did Sandy’s imaginings of trysts and conversations with the characters she read about in books.

I read this book essentially on the recommendation of Ian Rankin, who wrote a thesis about Muriel Spark’s work. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jan 18, 2021 |
Unusually for me, I preferred the film adaptation - http://www.susanhatedliterature.net/2020/08/the-prime-of-miss-jean-brodie/ ( )
  Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
I loved this book ( )
  Happenence | Oct 2, 2020 |
This is a book that I read years ago and have remembered vaguely since then. I suspect that my memories are mostly from the film that starred Maggie Smith as Miss Brodie. I read the book after seeing the movie but that memorable character as played by Maggie Smith still was pervasive. (As an aside I was lucky enough to see Maggie Smith in Noel Coward's play Private Lives at Ontario's Stratford Festival; she is even more impressive live than on film.) Even after this reread I am sure my mind will still picture the title character as Maggie Smith looked.

Miss Jean Brodie taught in a private school in Edinburgh in the years between the two World Wars. She is described as being in her 40s in her prime so she would have been born in the last part of the 19th century. Although women had achieved some gains in equality Miss Jean Brodie was unusually advanced in her thinking and in her personal life. Six young girls who were taught by her in lower grades continued to be influenced by her even when they went into the Senior School much to the alarm of the head mistress of the school. The head mistress wanted to get some evidence that would allow her to dismiss Miss Brodie and she repeatedly questioned these six girls about her. Since they all revered their former teacher they would never divulge anything that could endanger her position; until one of them did just that. Miss Brodie was an admirer of Mussolini and Hitler and she talked one young girl into going to the Spanish Civil War to fight on Franco's side. That was the straw that caused another of the Brodie set to give the head mistress ammunition to have her dismissed.

Looking back from this time period it is hard to understand how anyone could have supported the Fascists but I know this fictional character had real life counterparts such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and the aviator Lindbergh. I suppose that the economic achievements of the Fascists were seen as admirable and I imagine that the racism was not unusual for the time. Still I personally have a hard time reconciling Miss Brodie's political stance with her liberated views on women's roles and relationships with men. ( )
  gypsysmom | Sep 20, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 138 (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
Taylor, AlanForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, AlanIntroductionsecondary 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
1961 novel. "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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A teacher at a girl's school in Edinburgh during the 1930s comes into conflict with school authorities because of her unorthodox teaching methods.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141181427, 0241956773

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