The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Paperback Book

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Paperback

Part of the Penguin Essentials series

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Beautifully packaged reissue of Muriel Spark's best loved novel, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie'You girls are my vocation . . . I am dedicated to you in my prime'Miss Jean Brodie is a schoolmistress with a difference.

She is proud, cultured and romantic but her educational ideas are highly progressive and even deeply shocking.

So when she decides to transform a group of 'special girls' into the creme de la creme at Marcia Blaine School they are soon known, perhaps suspiciously, as the Brodie set.Introduced to an unsettling world of adult games and curious intrigues, the Brodie Set know that they are honoured and privileged.

Yet there is a price to pay - they must give Miss Brodie their undivided loyalty . . .'The most gifted and innovative British novelist of her generation' David Lodge, The New York Times'Spark's novels linger in the mind as brilliant shards' John Updike, New Yorker'One of the greatest books about growing up' James Wood, GuardianMuriel Spark was born and educated in Edinburgh.

She was active in the field of creative writing since 1950, when she won a short-story writing competition in the Observer, and her many subsequent novels include Memento Mori (1959), The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), The Girls of Slender Means (1963) and Aiding and Abetting (2000).

She also wrote plays, poems, children's books and biographies.

She became Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1993, and died in 2006.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • ISBN: 9780241964002

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The girls of "the Brodie set" are introduced all at once, but are all well delineated since they run a gamut of personalities you could only find clustered under a common bond in a classroom. It's their teacher who's the most interesting. Miss Brodie is like a bad flavour of Julie Andrews' character from "The Sound of Music". She brings progressive ideas to bear on her young pupils, but at the cost of discarding their regular education, promoting intolerance for other views, and drawing them into a loyal circle of her own making and command. She speaks of her approach as a drawing out of what lies within each girl rather than impressing an education upon them, but this is precisely the opposite of what happens. The author does some interesting things with time, flashing forwards and back, lending immediate dramatic irony to the first reading since we learn by degrees how things will turn out. Certain scenes are repeated for different effects the first and second time among all this skipping about, and some hints are proven to have different interpretations than the obvious. The unusual style reflects the story's content, a non-standard education in how it all plays out. It demonstrates how interpretations can be manipulated by the manner in which facts are delivered. This was a short enough read to sustain the odd approach and make it something special.

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