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The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Hardcover – May 1 1998

4 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 187 pages
  • Publisher: Buccaneer Books; Second Printing edition (May 1 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568496982
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568496986
  • Product Dimensions: 22.1 x 14.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #698,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Spark's most celebrated novel Independent There is no question about the quality and distinctiveness of her writing, with its quirky concern with human nature, and its comedy -- William Boyd A brilliant psychological figure Observer --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

Dame Muriel Spark (1918-2006) wrote more than twenty books, including Memento Mori, The Ballad of Peckham Rye, and Symposium.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
The boys, as they talked to the girls from Marcia Blaine School, stood on the far side of their bicycles holding the handlebars, which established a protective fence of bicycle between the sexes, and the impression that at any moment the boys were likely to be away. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and would definitely recommend it. At first, I thought it would be a charming coming-of-age story about a group of privileged girls and their adoring teacher. It is, in fact, much more complex and enigmatic than that. It takes place in 1930s Edinburgh, between the two world wars. The rise of Fascism in Europe serves as a historical backdrop as well as a parallel to Miss Brodie's attempts to control the lives of others.

Spark shows us how the older generation has been marked by WWI (Miss Brodie lost her fiancé, Mr. Lloyd lost his arm, and many of the teachers seem to be hardened by life and suffering). In contrast to some of the other teachers and the headmistress, Miss Brodie is a passionate woman; she is a great believer in art, music, and is full of romantic notions that she seeks to impress upon her chosen students. However, Miss Brodie has a dark, manipulative, self-centered side as well. She seeks to influence her clique of students to do her bidding and this leads to her ultimate undoing.
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Format: Hardcover
Based on the real life Christina Kay at the James Gillespie school, this classic is a must for anyone who would like to be considered literate in English Literature. Miss Jean Brodie is one of the most complex, idealistic, self-deluded, vulnerable, vital, romantic, preposterous, lonely, gregarious, outspoken and solipsistic character you will ever meet. She is the square on the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle whereas others are only the squares on the two sides. Listen to her lessons: "Phrases like 'the team spirit' are always employed to cut across individualism, love, and personal loyalitiies. Ideas like 'team spirit' ought not to be enjoined on the female sex, expecially if they are of that dedicated nature whose virtues from time immemorial have been utterly opposed to the concept. Florence Nightingale knew nothing of team spirit, her mission was to save life regardless of the team to which it belonged. Cleopatra knew nothing of the team spirit if you read your Shakespeare. Take Helen of Troy! ... Where would team spirit have got Sybil Thorndike? She is the great actress and the rest of the cast have got the team spirit. Pavlova..."
Jean if you are out there now, marry me. Please. You're my kind of woman.
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Format: Paperback
I read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie because it was on the Modern Library List of the greatest novels of the 20th Century, and I knew it was pretty short. I thought it would be interesting to see why it made that list. As it turns out, I think The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is one of the books which earned its place on that list.
The novel concerns Miss Brodie and here five students. She has chosen these five in order to craft them into her image. Miss Brodie is a spinster and wants to live her life through them. Miss Brodie imparts all of her views on them even though they conflict with the more conservative views of the school. Miss Brodie's views are very liberal. She is very frank when talking to her students about her sexual liasons, and she encourages some of them to become sexually active with a male teacher. Miss Brodie is also a fascist, and she tries to impart these views on the students, too. In the end, you see the ways in which she has influenced her students.
The novel is really superb. I seems to comment on the how ideals can be taken too far and can be checked. Miss Brodie also seems to represent Calvinism and Fascism. She contrasts Miss Brodie's position with the school's more conservative positions. The novel is written in superb prose (I'm not sure why people complain). The repetitions in the prose are there for a reason (to represent propaganda). The characterizations, particularly of Miss Brodie and Sandy, are apt. It's really a graceful novel with a lot to say (much of which I agree with). It's definitely thought provoking and very worth a read.
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By A Customer on April 8 2002
Format: Paperback
"The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" is the first book I read by this famous Scottish writer, and right after I finished, I searched the web to learn that Dame Spark has played an important role in the development of trends in modern, contemporary British literature. Due to the heavyweight nature of the reading matter I recently devoured, I decided to buy the shortest book by Muriel Spark, and it turned out to be one of her most important ones, with a charming literary archetype, the lovable Miss Brodie. At first, I had thought to myself - what an amusing little book! - but when I finished the novel, I had quite a different set of perceptions, although I still think that the essence of this this book is more of anecdotal humor than of anything else. A perfect, encyclopedic example of how, in literary fiction, delicious entertainment may be successfully married with profound philosophical issues.
Only a small subset of pupils are lucky to be educated, and prepared for life by teachers with a true calling, like Miss Brodie. Teaching is an occupation like any other, yet it's the most instrumental for shaping the personality and outlook of a young human being. Some parents are good teachers, that's their duty after all, though again only a small subset of parents are the true mentors worth their salt. Yet it's the school and then the university, that has enormous impact on us. Being a teenager means to find oneself in a constant, continuous trauma of discovery, where all kinds of events and situations force us to make decisions, to make judgments, to distinguish the right from the wrong, and last but not least, what to do with one's life.
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