- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (24 Feb. 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141181427
- ISBN-13: 978-0141181424
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 0.8 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 24 Feb 2000
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"Muriel Spark's most celebrated novel . . . This ruthlessly and destructively romantic school ma'am is one of the giants of post-war fiction" (The Independent)
"A brilliantly psychological fugue" (The Observer) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
All four novels give evidence of one of the most original and unmistakable voices in contemporary fiction. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
"The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" introduces the Edinburgh schoolmistress in 1936, surrounded by her notorious 'Brodie Set' of sixteen-year-old girls over whose lives and relationships she seeks almost divine ordinance. A few pages on, the narrative shifts backwards to 1930, showing the reader a small cameo of the Miss Brodie and her class of impressionable girls of ten. This initial anachrony is a common enough technique. However, as we advance through the narrative all the way to 1939 when the 'Brodie Set' are young women of eighteen or nineteen, their schooldays behind them, Spark's skill becomes increasingly apparent. Her sequence of fourteen forward glances and fourteen backward looks builds into a subtle composition of the 'Brodie Set' in childhood, adolescence, and adult life.
Spark writes a cool, calm, and collected narrative in which prolepses never render the text predictable but stage subtle surprises as we move beyond the main story of 1930 to '39 to shift back and forth across a time-span of three decades. Early in the novel, we meet a middle-aged, comfortably married Eunice sharing childhood memories with her husband and planning to visit the grave of her one-time schoolmistress. This extraordinary narrative movement, shuttling the reader forward in order to look back, hints at the style of Miss Brodie's impact. The memento mori is to be combined with the Edinburgh Festival.Read more ›
Any story by Muriel Spark is complex up to a point - her way of thinking is devious and unstraightforward and her characters tend to inhabit the moral and motivational lowlands. Insofar as they seem like real people at all rather than clever animations, her attitude towards them is usually ambivalent. Indeed it's almost fair to say that she makes her feelings for her own creations clearest, and expresses them most strongly, when those feelings consist most of repugnance, as with Patrick Seton and Father Socket in The Bachelors. Nevertheless she always seems to distance herself successfully from their general squalor through her quick wits and the dazzling speed at which she keeps rearranging the scenery.
This book has a lot of the familiar Spark 'feel' to it, but it's a bit different in some ways too. It's short, but it doesn't come across to me as a lightweight effort like The Abbess of Crewe. The cast of characters is not as large as in The Bachelors or The Ballad of Peckham Rye, but it's large enough. What makes it simpler is that it consists largely of a group of juveniles on the one hand, and on the other it is absolutely dominated by one single outsize personality, maybe the nearest to a true heroine or hero that Spark ever allowed herself. Jean Brodie is a silly woman but not a mean or corrupt one and that, in a novel by Muriel Spark, is quite something not to be.Read more ›
it was an absolute delight to return for a re-read to the book those others were compared to - Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
This of course was turned into a film with Dame Maggie Smith as Miss Brodie, but I remember little about the film which I'm pretty sure pops up on TV from time to time, other than Dame Maggie, yet re-reading the book my memories were strong.
What I particularly appreciate is Spark's economy. Books often seem to be getting longer and longer, often for no good reason, and I find myself longing for someone to have slashed and cut writing which can seem indulgent.
This is almost novella, rather than novel, length, yet jam packed with telling image and incident. Spark's mind is glittering and incisive, her love of, and mastery of, language evident in each clean sentence: nothing fussy, nothing fudgy, a sense of an author who can weigh and balance her sentences almost as if they had a precise poetical form which needed to be adhered to. A sense of discipline and craft to counterpoint fine imagination and dark wit.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If memorable, this has not been my favourite read. Shocking in parts – the sheer bullying that seems to have been going on – is still going on? – in boarding school. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Grylla S. Noab
The book was not as I remember it when read when I was younger, maybe the films and television adaptions have coloured my view of the story.Published 1 month ago by Blackface Ewe
We read this as part of a book club. Some of the group hated it, others loved it. I found it easy to read, funny and though provoking. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Sublime and sparsely written, this beautiful, engaging classic is captivating. I loved the film and the various stage productions I have enjoyed over the years, but only recently... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mrs. A. W. Vaughan
I very rarely encounter a book of which I do not know what to think... Is it good, is it really good? Is it brilliant? Is it awful? Is it awful... or brilliant... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Lola
Print is too small. Only those with 20/20 vision will be able to read this. Do not buy for any one with eyesight issuesPublished 5 months ago by Fast Eddie
In 1930s Edinburgh, Miss Brodie’s glamour, free-thinking ideas and manipulative charm hold dangerous sway over ‘her girls’ at the Marcia Blaine Academy, to the discomfort of the... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Bobbie
Probably one of the very greatest British novels ever written !!!Published 9 months ago by neil moray urquhart phelps