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The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  38,484 ratings  ·  2,385 reviews
An alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here.

The classic bestselling book the subject of a play, a movie, and a song that tells the darkly fascinating story of a young, unorthodox teacher and her special, and ultimately dangerous, relationship with six of her students.
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 128 pages
Published February 24th 2000 by Penguin (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.
Michael Not really - Spark said the school could as easily have been in the south of England as in Scotland, and one of the main characters, Sandy, muses that…moreNot really - Spark said the school could as easily have been in the south of England as in Scotland, and one of the main characters, Sandy, muses that she knows little of the "true" nature of Edinburgh, having led something of a sheltered life. We aren't shown her subsequent explorations.

It is atmospheric, though, and given that it's only 128 pages (or so, depending on your edition) long, it's well worth reading ☺(less)

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3.75  · 
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 ·  38,484 ratings  ·  2,385 reviews


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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.
Dolors
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
...more
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
Fionnuala
After reviewing several of Muriel Spark's less well-known books recently, I'm now attempting to review the one that made her famous. I imagined that it would be the easiest to write about, being the one with the most interesting structure (and the least absurd plot), but no, the opposite has been the case. In fact, I've had to scrap the review I wrote the other day because, for all its sensible words, it completely missed the point of the book. I knew what the point was but I somehow got sidetra ...more
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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Lisa
"Truth is stranger than fiction."

And that is a strange truth indeed considering the amount of strange things Muriel Spark manages to fit into her slim fiction.

Miss Brodie's prime is as strange a phenomenon as they come. She is both modern and traditional, radical and conservative, openminded and protectionist. She is a Natural Fascist in the 1930s, a Scottish schoolmistress by trade but a girl shaper by profession. Give her a girl at an impressionable age, and she will form out of that malleab
...more
Jan-Maat
A masterpiece.

Rather like The Girls of Slender Means you are strongly aware of the economical construction, the careful rocking of the narrative backwards and forwards in time so that you know everything that will happen in the story in advance. Yet this has an odd effect in maintaining and sustaining the narrative, you are shifted from wanting to know what will happen, to how it will happen, to why it will happen, from events, dear boy, events to psychology.

As I approached the end of this simp
...more
Violet wells
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sex, art and politics. Three areas of life where idealism can get stuck in and have a field day. Miss Brodie has made a vocation of applying gold glitter to her preferences in life and seeks with single-minded righteousness to create a likeness of herself in her pupils. But in this novel Muriel Spark shows us she's not a great fan of idealism. In fact, she mercilessly ridicules it as a philosophical blueprint.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie sets itself up as a moral fable. Except it refuses to a
...more
Steven Godin
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
...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
...more
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
...more
Gaurav
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: english, owned, classics
Nothing infuriates people more than their own lack of spiritual insight…

There are very few books which get hold of you from the very first line, for the words are refined with such a surgical precision that you may realize, any sort of modification would come as superfluous and redundant. The authors, who may control the great literary baton to such an effect that there seems to be a pleasing unison between mind and words, are one of the most endangered species. For one always overdo something u
...more
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
...more
Parthiban Sekar
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, english
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"
...more
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
...more
rachel
Jan 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nice-cover, brit-lit, 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
...more
Laura
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found that I could not read the passages where Miss Brodie speaks unless my inner ear rendered them in the voice of the inimitable Maggie Smith. The combination of Jean Brodie's precise vocabulary and elegance of structure with Smith's lilting tones, and prolonged vowels - meant that at least for me, the two could not be separated. The passages where Jean Brodie speaks, did not come to life unless I allowed this rhythmic Edinburgh melody to prevail.

'There is an old tradition for this practice
...more
Darwin8u
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I shall remain at this education factory where my duty lies. There needs must be a leaven in the lump. Give me a girl at an impressionable age and she is mine for life. The gang who oppose me shall not succeed."
- Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

description

Published in 1961 and set in a Scottish girl's school in the pre-World War II period (1930s) when Fascism was favorable (among those in their Prime) and on the rise, 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie' tells the story of an unconventional teache
...more
Hanneke
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-read
Muriel Spark dipped her pen once more in that poisonous inkwell of hers and wrote this extraordinary tale of the unconvential behaviour of mistress Miss Jean Brodie which leaves you wondering if you are supposed to dig through layers of distortion and perspectives to learn what actual impact Miss Jean Brodie had on the life of each of her Brodie set girls. Or is it much more simple and is the clutch of Jean Brodie on her set only a positive imput on these impressionable girls’ lifes. The story i ...more
Kate.
May 22, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
...more
Susan
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a deceptive novel, which contains a story of depth and scope despite it's short length, and which I have returned to many times. The plot concerns the unconventional schoolteacher, Miss Jean Brodie, who seeks to influence a chosen group of schoolgirls - the so called 'Brodie Set'. Much of the novel is relayed through the eyes of Sandy Stranger, who enters Miss Brodie's class in 1930, and becomes a confidante of the teacher.

Miss Brodie virtually wages war on the school; as the embattled h
...more
William2
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.
Raul Bimenyimana
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The third book set in Edinburgh I've read this month, and a strange fantastic book it is. The story centers six girls and their teacher, Jean Brodie, who has made them her focus in her "prime". I was fascinated by the writer's style, it is very singular, in the way you can always associate certain writers with their works. The short descriptions of 1930s Edinburgh were very illustrative and all the characters are so well written and very distinct.

This is a very short book and I don't think I can
...more
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
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
...more
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
...more
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
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
...more
Dhanaraj Rajan
Sep 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...more
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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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“To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil's soul.” 1001 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.” 83 likes
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