The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

3.75 (29,597 ratings by Goodreads)
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She was a schoolmistress with a difference. Proud, cultured, romantic, her ideas were progressive, even shocking. And when she decided to transform a group of young girls under her tutelage into the creme de la creme of Marcia Blaine school, no one could have predicted the more

Product details

  • Paperback | 128 pages
  • 110 x 176 x 10mm | 81.65g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • 0140278710
  • 9780140278712

Review Text

An attention-getting writer (novels, Memento Mori. The Ballad of Peckham Rye, The Bachelors, and short stories, The Go-Away Bird) pursues her multi-personae interests, her concern with religion, and her refusal to allow the reader to be at one with her purpose. Here she disperses her story (a loose but provocative thing) over an extended - and interrupted - period (thirty years) during which Miss Brodie, (in her prime) holds young minds in thrall, at first in delight at the heady freedom she offers from the rigid, formal precepts of Edinburgh's Marcia Blaine (day) School, later in loyalty to her advanced sedition against the efforts to have her removed. Finally the girls grow up - and Monica, Rose, Eunice, Jenny, Mary, and Sandy, (particularly Sandy with her pig-like eyes) separate, and the "Brodie set" dissolves- with war, death, marriage, career, and conversion to Catholicism. But there still is a central focus - who among them betrayed Miss Brodie to the headmistress so that a long-desired dismissal was effective? In this less-than-a-novel, more-than-a-short story, there is the projection of a non-conformist teacher of the thirties, of a complex of personalties (which never becomes personal lives), and of issues which, floating, are never quite tangible. But Muriel Spark is sharp with her eyes and her ears and the craftiness of her craftsmanship is as precision-tooled as the finest of her driest etching. With the past record, the publisher's big push, and The New Yorker advance showing, this stands on its own. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Review quote

"Muriel Spark is one of the few writers on either side of the Atlantic with enough resources, daring, and stamina to be altering, as well as feeding, the fiction machine...We are never out of touch in a Spark novel with the happiness of creation; the sudden willful largesse of magic and wit, the cunning tautness of suspense."-John Updike, "The New Yorker "One of our greatest living novelists." -"The Times "Spark's powers of invention are apparently inexhaustible." -"Commonwealth "[Spark is] one of this century's finest creators of comic-metaphysical entertainment." -"New York Times "Some of [Spark's] finest fictions are novellas rather than novels, short enough to be read in a single dizzying sitting." -David Lodge "[Spark] has written some things that seem likely to go on being read as long as fiction in English is read at all." -"New York Times Book Reviewshow more

Rating details

29,597 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 25% (7,417)
4 38% (11,119)
3 28% (8,198)
2 8% (2,260)
1 2% (603)
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