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The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  31,012 Ratings  ·  1,751 Reviews
Muriel Spark’s timeless classic about a controversial teacher who deeply marks the lives of a select group of students in the years leading up to World War II


“Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life!” So asserts Jean Brodie, a magnetic, dubious, and sometimes comic teacher at the conservative Marcia Blaine School for Girls in Edinburgh. Brodie sel
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ebook, 140 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Open Road Integrated Media (first published 1961)
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Emily Late 1920s through the end of the 1930s. The majority of the action is concentrated in the mid-thirties.

Community Reviews

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Dolors
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dolors by: Memories of my particular Miss Brodie
Shelves: read-in-2016
“The prime of Miss Jean Brodie” takes us back to the Edinburgh of the thirties. School mistress Miss Jean Brodie has selected six of her students to take as confidants. These girls will be the recipients of Miss Brodie’s unorthodox education that includes fictionalized versions of her love affairs magnified by her need to prolong her “prime” as much as possible.
The resulting story revolves around the complex, humoristic and even a bit extravagant relationship that Miss Brodie develops with her
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Carol

My initial reaction is, take Dead Poets Society, make the students young women instead of young men, replace the character played by Robin Williams with Iago and -poof! - you have this novel.
Samadrita
Henry Louis Vivian Derozio is a name possibly not known or cared for beyond the frontiers of India.
At the tender age of 17 this man of Anglo-Indian descent, possessing a sharp intellect and an even sharper tongue, was already a Professor of English Literature and History, busy influencing a group of eager, well-bred young men hailing from affluent Bengali families in Calcutta. He became a leading figure in the age of socio-cultural reform movements in Bengal in the dawn of the 19th century thro
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Lizzy
I know I’ve had this happen to me before, be surprised by a book. Let me explain. As I started reading The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, I imagine I would like it. Yes, I did. However, as I finished Muriel Spark’s novel my sentiments were much stronger. I knew that I had to read it again sometime soon. That has happened to me before, and don’t get me wrong, there have been many books that had the same impact on me. Like The Lover, Madame Bovary and Atonement, just to mention three of my favorite bo ...more
Barry Pierce
"Who is the greatest Italian painter?"
"Leonardo da Vinci, Miss Brodie."
"That is incorrect. The answer is Giotto, he is my favourite."

Jean Brodie. Oh Miss Jean Brodie. She may be one of my new favourite heroines in literature. I mean she's like up there with Emma Bovary from Madame Bovary, she's that good. I think there were other characters in this novel? Idk. I don't care. It's all about Jean. I love Jean. Jean. Jean. Hmmm I'm starting to think I liked her character more than the book itself. O
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Steven  Godin
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, british
My humble apologies must go to Muriel Spark, who not only did I assume was an American but also still in the land of the living (died 2006), until I discovered she turned out to be a bonny wee lass from Scotland (so much for my literary knowledge). One thing I am definitely sure of though, 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie' is definitively British through and through.

Short and bittersweet, this features a quite sublimely constructed narrative full of wit and brevity where the story focuses on the c
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Aubrey
4.5/5
Give 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
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Sidharth Vardhan

“It occurred to Sandy, there at the end of the Middle Meadow Walk, that the Brodie set was Miss Brodie's fascisti, not to the naked eye, marching along, but all knit together for her need and in another way, marching along. That was all right, but it seemed, too, that Miss Brodie's disapproval of the Girl Guides had jealousy in it, there was an inconsistency, a fault. Perhaps the Guides were too much a rival fascisti, and Miss Brodie could not bear it.”

One commonly featuring theme with all the
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Parthiban Sekar
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, british
It is quite common in case of any successful person the frequent questions of his or her influences. Similarly, in case of any unpleasant individuals the question of his or her bringing-up, but with scorn. Such is the importance of influence over impressionable minds. And teachers play a vital role in causing a positive influence over their pupils.

“To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil's soul.”

This is the story of Miss Jean Brodie who claims to be "in her prime"
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rachel
Jan 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brit-lit, nice-cover, 2011
Miss Jean Brodie is a magnetic minor fascist -- which surprised me, knowing little about the book beforehand except that a.) it was made into a movie starring Maggie Smith and b.) that this cover is cute and also very twee.

But what Spark does here is let the reader see with the eyes of the "Brodie set," of six distinctive girls who follow their teacher in and out of the classroom from their pre-adolescent through their teenage years. We move with Sandy, Rose, Jenny, Monica, Eunice, and Mary from
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Paul
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spark
4.5 stars rounded up
This is another one of those books I’ve been meaning to read for years; seen the film several times. Having also read The Ballad of Peckham Rye recently and been impressed by Spark, I thought it was time to finally read this. It is brief, but very cleverly put together, employing a flash forward technique, so Spark reveals the plot and the eventual ending bit by bit and in a varied order. Spark also makes good use of some neat aphorisms; “I am in my prime”, you are the crème
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Mohsin Maqbool
description
Scottish novelist Muriel Spark.

SCOTTISH writer Muriel Spark writes short novels or rather novellas, but they have far greater depth than novels that might be 500 pages. Many thick tomes are cluttered with unnecessary stuff; Miss Spark’s novels hardly have any because she is crisp and always to the point where her creative writing is concerned.

description
Film still on 'Miss Brodie' book cover.

Her bestseller, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, was first published in 1962. Its protagonist Miss Jean Brodie is a t
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Shovelmonkey1
Nov 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the creme de la creme and anyone who thinks they might be in their prime
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
A slim, sparse and brittle novella, much like the slim, slight and jagged Miss Jean Brodie herself. Less of a teacher and more of a life coach, Miss Jean Brodie is to Morningside in the 1930s what Rachel Zoe was to Paris, Nicole, Misha et al in Beverly Hills in the noughties.

The Brodie set is a group of archly self aware girls, all hand picked by the charming, erudite and broadly fascist Jean Brodie as her cultural mini-me’s. Socially acceptable sponges who will carry forth into the world the id
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Bettie☯




http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pz...

1: Creme de la Creme: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is Muriel Spark's best known and best loved novel - the justly enduring story of an Edinburgh school teacher who eschews the normal curriculum in favour of lessons on the Italian Renaissance painters, on Mussolini and with stories of her own love life. As she seeks to mould her 'set' of girls 'of an impressionable age', into the 'crème de la crème', and as her love life becomes complicated by affections f
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Maureen
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
this is the second muriel spark book i've read. the first was The Girls of Slender Means and i wasn't sold. i cared so little about any of the brittle bitches she wrote about. i was told by an excellent friend after my initial insouciance that i had chosen the wrong book to start with -- actually what he said was, "Stop asking me for reading suggestions. You'll vaguely recall the author's name and months later pick the wrong book by him/her and then grumble about it. :P" and trusting that it was ...more
Dhanaraj Rajan
Sep 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Firstly:

As I began to read this novel, I felt little out of place. That is, I felt this was the novel for girls and I chanced upon it unknowingly. The novel is about a female teacher and her favourite pupils (teen age girls). The setting is the Girls' School. The 'girly talk' among the girls initially put me off. But then, that is only the beginning.

As the story progressed and the plot became thick and tense, I could see that it was not a 'girly book'. It was more than that. And that is where Mu
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Chrissie
The central theme of this book focuses upon the pivotal role a teacher can play in the lives of young students. As young adults mature there is that point where seeking to become independent and searching to find a foothold in the adult world, peers and parents and all those one has relied on must be discarded. Sometimes it is a teacher that fills that hole. Then let's keep our fingers crossed that that teacher is a good one. Reading this book will make you think back to your own youth and that ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Very nearly four stars, but I can't go that high because the author doesn't provide a strong enough motivation for the girl who betrays Miss Brodie.
Miss Jean Brodie is a forty-something Scottish school teacher who never tires of reminding people that she is IN HER PRIME. Someday when I have nothing better to do, I may just go through and count how many times we are told by Miss Brodie (and her girls) that she is IN HER PRIME. Meanwhile, whenever I want an excuse for my eccentric behavior, I wil
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Perry
Jan 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of Mussolini,
Don't Preach
To the Teenies
Where You Teach


"it's only possible to betray where loyalty is due"

Sandy, now Sister Helena of the Transfiguration, is the omniscient narrator of the story looking back at her time in the 1930s at a Catholic grade school in Edinburgh, Scotland, time spent as part of the set of six girls who their teacher Miss Brodie called her "creme de la creme." Ms. Sparks used a number of flash-forwards to most effectively and methodically convey the ultimate betrayal o
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Kate
May 22, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hit the snooze button. Because you won't wanna wake up early to finish this trite piece of over-celebrated frump. Miss Jean Brodie is the kind of co-dependent teacher that smart kids steer clear of -- except here she attracts otherwise likable school girls and prods them along this tiresome plot like dying heifers. Spark's flat characters repeat the same dumb one-liners until you wonder how anyone ever thought this author was clever. One student dies in a fire. Another joins a nunnery. But when ...more
William1
A sterling example of literary compression and the effective use of non-chronological narrative structure. A book that gets the reader involuntarily exclaiming aloud such is its brilliance, its self assurance, its high level of artistic attainment.
Pink
Jan 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a lot of fun. Only I'm surprised it's not shelved as comedy or satire. Or is that just me? I really should watch the film, with the wonderful Maggie Smith, it's even on YouTube, in fact I'm off to watch it now.
Nigeyb
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a curious book. In terms of style, Muriel Spark's non-sequential narrative and extensive use of prolepsis, is unusual, and yet works well as Muriel Spark repeats the same themes and phrases. The book is also very simple to read and well written.

It was refreshing to read about such a free thinking, idiosyncratic and rebellious woman working in a deeply traditional environment in an era where great store was still placed on conduct in the bourgeois world of a girls' school in the 1930s. Miss
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Tfitoby
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit
After my recent introduction to the work of Muriel Spark via The Hothouse by the East River I went on a mini binge of buying every title that came across my path in second hand bookshops, until eventually I found the novel that she is most famous for and the one I had seen everywhere I looked for years until that moment I decided I wanted my own copy. Typical.

Still when it finally found its way in to my hands I didn't want to put it down such was the pleasure I was having in getting to know Miss
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Gautam
A classic novel that has unusual depth and scope.

3.5 stars on 5!
-gautam
Tyler
Mar 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Tyler by: Various Reviews
I read this to add to my female authors. I like this book, yet I see why some readers don't. The title implies some sort of in-depth psychological analysis to come, and that doesn't happen. Au contraire.

The fame of this novel comes from the strong authorial control over the narrative. Particularly interesting is Spark's manipulation of temporality -- she moves back and forth between present and future with unusual effectiveness.

The other remarkable thing is the broad brushstrokes with which sh
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Sarah
May 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I found this book. I didn't even know it was a book. I only vaguely remember the film adaptation, though I was profoundly affected by it. It's one of many such films that has haunted me in memory fragments. The themes of the movie were too-deep, too-unsettling for me at...whatever age I happened to be. Oddly enough, this touches on the main idea of the story.

Miss Jean Brodie is a pretty, young, and unorthodox teacher. She teaches poetry when she should be teaching math and scienc
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Karol
Jul 05, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I know I'm in the minority and I'm expected to laud this book as a literary classic, but I absolutely loath it.

Miss Brodie is smug, self-serving, and self-absorbed. She cuts a ridiculous figure, building herself up to be better than she is, and rather than trying to actually educate her students, she manipulates them all and is unabashedly cruel to one whom she has singled out.

Maybe the writing is good, because great authors make us feel something - right? I did feel plenty of disgust in between
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Joanna
Nov 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-read, 1001
Embarassingly for someone with a degree in women's studies, I'd never read this classic. Thanks to jury duty the past couple of days, I've now remedied this gap in my reading. I shall now need to see the classic film, which I've also missed. That background aside, I really enjoyed this book. Yes, not much happens in the novel. But the richness of the characters and the dialog make this very short book crackle with electricity and life. Miss Brodie "in her prime" becomes an idealized and nurturin ...more
Megan Baxter
Mar 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit that for the first 20-30 pages of the book, my mind was halfway occupied with the question of whether or not I'd auditioned for a production of the play of this book at some point, and when I remembered my struggles with the Scottish accent, moved on to what role I'd been auditioning for.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire re
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Dame Muriel Spark, DBE was a prolific Scottish novelist, short story writer, and poet whose darkly comedic voice made her one of the most distinctive writers of the twentieth century. In 2008 The Times newspaper named Spark in its list of "the 50 greatest British writers since 1945".

Spark received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1965 for The Mandelbaum Gate, the Ingersoll Foundation TS Eli
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More about Muriel Spark...

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“To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil's soul.” 985 likes
“The word "education" comes from the root e from ex, out, and duco, I lead. It means a leading out. To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil's soul.” 77 likes
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