[PDF / Epub] ✍ The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie ☁ Muriel Spark – Tshirtforums.co.uk

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie summary The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, series The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, book The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, pdf The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie f2dbd08e54 At The Staid Marcia Blaine School For Girls In Edinburgh, Scotland, Teacher Extraordinaire Miss Jean Brodie Is Unmistakably, And Outspokenly, In Her Prime She Is Passionate In The Application Of Her Unorthodox Teaching Methods And Strives To Bring Out The Best In Each One Of Her Students Determined To Instill In Them Independence, Passion, And Ambition, Miss Brodie Advises Them, Safety Does Not Come First Goodness, Truth, And Beauty Come First Follow Me And They Do But One Of Them Will Betray Her

10 thoughts on “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

  1. says:

    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.

  2. says:

    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 girls, who grow up under the shadow of their teacher s frustrations and contradictions quite liberal in certain areas, Miss Brodie s radical conservatism shows in her admiration for fascist ideals Caught in the swirling emotions of her overly dramatized romances, Miss Brodie underestimates the powerful influence she has over the lives of these impressionable young women that will lead one of them to betray her trust.Besides the not so original plot, what resulted fascinating to me is the technique through which Muriel Spark unfolds the personalities and the outcome of the characters Many of the transcendental events are revealed in flash forwards that recur in a pattern of descriptive attributes of the already adult women, so the reader knows from the beginning what the future will have in store for the Brodie set where will Rose s magnetic sexuality lead her Or Mary Macgregor s clumsiness Or Jenny s natural beauty Nevertheless, the life experiences of these girls are irrelevant to the escalating dramatic tension of the narrative, where a somewhat cruel humor takes the stage and the eccentricity of Miss Brodie, whose emotions remain hidden from the reader and are only glimpsed through the girls perspectives, boosts to create a memorably ignoble character whose passion for life exceeds her manipulative nature In the end, Miss Brodie s blessing turns into her curse she is condemned to live her life through her young surrogates and loses control of her own destiny.Quite a peculiar little book Sharp, incisive and vibrant, it can easily deceive because of its apparent lightness and slightly comical undertone, but the somewhat veiled, subversive facet of Spark s artistry won t leave any reader indifferent, for Miss Brodie s dilemmas and dirty secrets are, after all, our own.

  3. says:

    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 books However, I just did not expect to feel it so strongly here.There is a reason for that This is a book about our perceptions of ourselves and of the people around us, and it is flawlessly done Spark s narrative is crisply and wryly witty, subtly ironic in its tone Would that I had been given charge of you girls when you were seven I sometimes fear it s too late, now If you had been mine when you were seven you would have been the cr me de la cr me Sandy, come and read some stanzas and let us hear your vowel sounds It s a fast and fun read, very scintillating and brilliantly structured Spark has a mastery over her material, which few writers that I know have She moves from time frame to time frame or from reality to imaginative fantasy, frequently without any transition.The plot concerns the unconventional schoolteacher, Miss Jean Brodie, and tells how she seeks to influence a chosen group of schoolgirls the so called Brodie Set They are introduced to us as six pre adolescent girls and are charming but flawed Their fates are something that you end caring for deeply.When Spark introduces one of her set, we are first exposed to her style Back and forth along the corridors ran Mary Macgregor, through the thickening smoke She ran one way then, turning, the other way and at either end the blast furnace of the fire met her She heard no screams, for the roar of the fire drowned the screams, she gave no scream, for the smoke was choking her But at the beginning of the nineteen thirties, when Mary Macgregor was ten, there she was sitting blankly among Miss Brodie s pupils Who has spilled ink on the floor was it you, Mary As she plays with her narrative, going forward and backward in time, and going into the fanciful daydreams of the girls particularly in the figure of Miss Brodie s most promising student, Sandy the story reads so easily that it could delude the reader to think it was effortlessly done This is one of the few books I ve read where it seems entirely blatant that the author is in complete control of every aspect of her narrative She writes with a richness that injects life into her work The author is somehow able to pack a vast number of well cultivated characters and expand into their lives and dreams into this 150 page book This seems to be the perfect description of Miss Jean Brodie She was not in any doubt, she let everyone know she was in no doubt, that God was on her side whatever her course, and so she experienced no difficulty or sense of hypocrisy in worship while at the same time she went to bed with the singing master Just as an excessive sense of guilt can drive people to excessive action, so was Miss Brodie driven to it by an excessive lack of guilt Much of the novel is relayed through the eyes of Sandy, who becomes a confidante of the teacher Miss Brodie virtually wages war on the school as the beleaguered headmistress, Miss Mackay attempts to reign in her disturbing influence on the girls and find a way to force the teacher to resign It is true that Miss Brodie tends to tell the girls about her ideas and love affairs, rather than drilling them with their lessons, but they are still her creme de la creme You know, Sandy said, these are supposed to be the happiest days of our lives Yes, they are always saying that, Jenny said They say, make the most of your schooldays because you never know what lies ahead of you Miss Brodie says prime is best, Sandy said Yes, but she never got married like our mothers and fathers They don t have primes, said Sandy They have sexual intercourse, Jenny said For me, the book is about than just a bunch of schoolgirls growing up It s about passion, and friendship, superficial and otherwise, and the disappointment of seeing your idols as mere human beings with their constant need to belong that is such a normal feeling in us all Despite all critic that we can lay at Miss Brodie for her meddling with her pupils, there is no doubt that they idolized her and enjoyed being in her care Mary MacGregor, although she lived into her twenty fourth year, never quite realised that Jean Brodie s confidences were not shared with the rest of the staff and that her love story was given out only to the pupils On one occasion of real misery when her first and last boy friend, a corporal whom she had known for two weeks, deserted her by failing to turn up at an appointed place and failing to come near her again she thought back to see if she had ever been happy in her life it occurred to her then that the first years with Miss Brodie, sitting listening to all those stories and opinions which had nothing to do with the ordinary world, had been the happiest time of her life What delighted me was Spark s use of irony, humor, and finely controlled development The author shines at character sketches, not only of Miss Brodie and her set, but also gives us considerable portraits of the sexy one armed art teacher, the shy music teacher, and even the limited but funny and rather inept and awkward headmistress Spark catches accurately the malleable, romantic, changing perceptions of her supposedly sheltered girls as they grow up.Brodie s is a tight knit group, but, inevitably, one of her charges begins to see the dangers of Brodie s self centered agenda, ending up betraying her In the narrative, we read how Miss Brodie defines her pupils, Sandy, she calls insightful Others are regarded as knowledgeable about sex or even stupid Thus, we start to see how the teacher becomes a despot We know for a fact that mentors, as any human being, are not always what they seem Miss Brodie seems herself to reveal aspects of adolescent rebellion And she revels in her influence, while her prot g s are forced to mature too quickly Miss Brodie admits openly how the admiration of her impressionable set is important to her Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life Miss Brodie in her prime becomes an idealized and nurturing teacher for certain selected students She repeatedly tells the girls their destinies as she sees them and not always nicely she goes to the extreme of encouraging one of them to have an affair with a married man, exactly the art teacher whom Miss Brodie seems to love It was plain that Miss Brodie wanted Rose with her instinct to start preparing to be Teddy Lloyd s lover and Sandy with her insight to act as an informant on the affair It was to this end that Rose and Sandy had been chosen as the cr me de la cr me There was a whiff of sulphur about the idea which fascinated Sandy in her present mind After all, it was only an idea And there was no pressing hurry in the matter, for Miss Brodie liked to take her leisure over the unfolding of her plans, most of the joy deriving from the preparation, At the same time, her humanity and flaws are all too clear she idealizes Hitler, Franco, and Mussolini The novel is set in the cultural backdrop of 1930 s Edinburgh, and its puritanical environment The wider background also appears in the Spanish civil war and the rise of fascism, which Miss Brodie fiercely and naively admires However, this has to be viewed in its historical context, since fascist sympathies were fairly common in Britain before the war.The fascisti are very present for the Brodie set It occured to Sandy 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 Sandy thought she might see about joining the Brownies Then the group fright seized her again, and it was necessary to put the idea aside, because she loved Miss Brodie Spark s vivid characterizations becomes an incantation like repetition of certain phrases like creme de la creme or in my prime Despite the fact that Miss Brodie does not make up for a good role model or is far from being the ideal mentor for young girls, I could not help but be enthralled by her And her imperfections are blatant However, we can recognize several people we know in Miss Brodie Starting with her disregard and even disrespect for others, who can say never to have sinned so Here we have to be honest and include ourselves since everybody shares a little of Miss Brodie s idiosyncrasies For she is strong willed and determined, intelligent and independent, and yet she is vulnerable because she wants so desperately to be revered by her girls and be loved by the men in her otherwise lonely life The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a book that deserves to be read by everyone Highly recommended _____

  4. says:

    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 sidetracked due to the cunning of the main character, and ended up focusing my review entirely on Miss Brodie But, I hear you say, Miss Jean Brodie is the main character.Well, she gets top billing on the front cover and in readers minds, but that s only because the main character allows her to The main character is pulling all the strings in this book, even the reader s Let s be clear, you say There s a third person narrator in this book, and therefore the narrator is the one who pulls the strings The narrator author gives the characters their roles, and controls their fates That s just how it is.The way I see it, the main character and the narrator are one and the same person Miss Sandy Stranger, aged ten when we first meet her Of course, Sandy lets us think there s a narrator, but in reality the entire story is being told by Sandy herself It s a kind of double act If you look closely, you ll see that there isn t a single episode she couldn t have witnessed or heard about And there s a clue about her authorship of the story early in the book The Transfiguration of the Commonplace That s the title of a book that we are told Sandy will write in later life It s ostensibly a psychology textbook about the perception of moral issues and how to act on them, but here s the thing I believe that Sandy s Transfiguration book is really this book, the Miss Jean Brodie book It s a very economical method, you see, this double act, just as in the case of Teddy Lloyd s portraits of the Brodie set which simultaneously looked like the sitter and also like Miss Brodie Two portraits for one, two books for one Why not One day you will go too far, I hear you say But wait a moment Isn t the crux of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie the perception of a moral issue and the decision to act on it Well, of course, you say, everyone knows that, whether they ve read the book or seen the film Everyone knows about Miss Brodie s incitement of her pupils towards fascism, and her subsequent enforced retirement But what about the Transfiguration of the Commonplace How do you make that fit with your crazy theory Take a moment to consider what Sandy tells us about herself as a child Sandy was never bored, but she had to lead a double life of her own in order never to be bored. Her double life as I see it involved the constant transfiguration of the commonplace You see, Sandy s vision of everybody and everything is very acute, in spite of the fact that she has tiny eyes But Sandy proves time and time again that her tiny eyes are capable of transforming even the most humdrum aspects of the world into something out of the ordinary Everything she can transfigure gets transfigured As she reads The Lady of Shalott aloud in the classroom, Sandy is transformed into the Lady s confidante, and the classroom into Camelot.A walk with her classmates through the reeking network of Edinburgh slums becomes a breath taking adventure in the Highlands with Alan Breck, the hero of Kidnapped.A line of unemployed men queuing to enter a dole office becomes a dragon s body, unslayable.Miss Brodie herself, her brown head held high becomes Joan of Arc On another day, her nose arched and proud, she is Sybil Thorndyke Even the way the Brodie set wore their school hats was a transformation of the ordinary when narrated by Sandy But the opposite can also happen in Sandy s world, as when the Mona Lisa with her famous smile becomes simply a woman with her lower jaw swollen from a visit to the dentist And Miss Jean Brodie eventually becomes a rather tiresome woman well past her prime.However, the most remarkable example of transfiguration concerns a piece of tinned pineapple Here we are verging on transubstantiation To Sandy the unfamiliar pineapple had the authentic taste and appearance of happiness and she focussed her small eyes closely on the pale gold cubes before she scooped them up in her spoon, and she thought the sharp taste on her tongue was that of a special happiness, which was nothing to do with eatingWell, you say, all that is in the text of course, and a reader can make whatever patterns out of the facts she chooses, but none of it proves that Sandy is the narrator of this book Hmm One of Sandy s favourite transformations involves daydreaming that she is plain Jane Eyre having enigmatic conversations with romantic moody Mr Rochester.So..You might remember that in this book, Sandy and the very romantic and moody Mr Lloyd have some enigmatic conversations in which he teases her about not being beautiful Eventually however, they become lovers The interesting thing about Mr Lloyd, and which makes me think Sandy invented him, is that he only has one arm After all, by the time Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester eventually became lovers, he too had only one arm Now you really have gone too far This entire review is completely absurd.Is it really Well, perhaps I have taken things to a bit of an extreme Pity I deleted all those sensible words I wrote about Miss Brodie the other day

  5. says:

    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 through his dissemination of Western philosophical and scientific ideas at a time when our society was stagnating in a cesspool of ignorance and blind prejudices And his close knit group of brilliant young students of the Hindu College who were referred to by the smart moniker of Derozians , much in the same manner of the ill famed Brodie set of TPOMJB, were viewed with as much suspicion as unacknowledged respect But following the pattern of reception of new ideas which are regarded radical and therefore dangerously subversive in their times, Derozio was expelled from the Hindu College and this in turn applied an abrupt brake on the Young Bengal movement As much as my teenage self had looked upon the Derozio name and his legacy with a kind of starry eyed deference, post acquaintance with a fictional educator as sociopathic and ambiguous as Miss Jean Brodie, I am forced to view this whole idea of an inspirational teacher weaning a student away from conventional methods of learning with utmost skepticism No I do not intend to overlook Derozio s small but significant contribution to the collective betterment of our society of the times which in turn greatly aided the nationalist movement later on But maybe, it will be wise to probe deeper for the unadulterated truth rather than be so guilelessly accepting I am sure both Muriel Spark and Derozio himself would have approved.Young, impressionable minds being shaped according to someone else s personal standards of nauseating elitism and if one is unlucky enough to fall under the spell of some conniving Miss Jean Brodie in her prime, being sucked right into a sinister trap What a slippery slope this is This setting about to correct the course undertaken by a young learner under the facade of challenging conformity, with a perverse sense of authoritarian entitlement I know better than you, therefore you must follow my instructions In the way of Miss Jean Brodie s attempts at manipulating adolescent girls into competing with each other to be made a part of her venerated cr me de la cr me , people of insidious intent devise ways of propagating some attractive piece of ideology with confident pronouncements of it being the path of righteousness and all that familiar drivel Which is why I now realize how treacherous traversing this distance between not knowing and knowing a little better is there s no way to fill up the vacuum of ignorance other than with information in any form that is available nearby and you better hope that pedagogical influence of the likes of the magnetic Miss Jean Brodies of the world does not hold free reign in the vicinity at the time Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life It s been a while since something quite as innocuous sounding as the above claim has left me feeling so deeply unsettled.

  6. says:

    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 malleable clay the kind of portrait her heroes Mussolini and Hitler would have burned.She sneaks into the portraits of one man while taking possession of the eating and sleeping habits of another, but it won t be possible for the desperate Headmistress to get rid of her relying on a sex scandal Politics, a mere side interest, will be her downfall, and her Judas will differ from the traditional one in the fact that she does not really feel guilt one can only betray where loyalty is due, she thinks, and once you look underneath the shiny surface, all narcissists even those in their prime look ridiculous.As stories go, this one sparkles just as much as a glass of vintage champagne For the record, though don t try to achieve Miss Brodie s downfall by checking her drinking habits, she barely shares a half bottle of sherry with her set of six girls on her birthday That s it.Politics, not sex and drugs, will bring her down, unlike most male narcissists, who get away with both fascism and unconventional sex.

  7. says:

    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 simple story about schoolgirls, sex and their teacher, I thought I had realised something clever about the teacher, only to find on page 120 one of the characters thought the same thought as I had had, but economically After I had finished the book, I then, in my typical dark and suspicious mode of thinking began to dourly realise that I hadn t probably thought that thought at all, rather it had been planted view spoiler what horror hide spoiler

  8. says:

    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 answer any of the moral questions it throws up in any pat convenient fashion We have a classroom where there are two guiding lights the ostensibly inspiring and progressive Miss Brodie, the teacher, and the ostensibly repressive mediocre headmistress, Miss Mackay At face value it would appear a straightforward struggle between an admirable advocate of free thought and a life sapping advocate of rote learning No hesitation here on who one is going to side with But Spark throws one firecracker after another into the mix Miss Brodie becomes and morally questionable, not least for her cheap reactionary enthusiasm for fascism The headmistress, whatever faults she might have, is not a supporter of Mussolini and Hitler, strong men as Brodie calls them Miss Mackay articulates in her mediocre cerebration the fraught moral ambivalence fizzing throughout this novel when she tells one of her pupils You are very fortunate in Miss Brodie I could wish your arithmetic papers were better I am always impressed by Miss Brodie s girls in one way or another You will have to work at ordinary humble subjects for the qualifying examination Miss Brodie is giving you an excellent preparation for the senior school Culture cannot compensate for lack of hard knowledge I am happy to see you are devoted to Miss Brodie Your loyalty is due to the school rather than to any one individual The generous inspiring teacher awakening the sensibilities of her pupils has become a clich of unalloyed virtue in our culture But Spark refuses to go down this beaten path She takes us into the woods In fact, it s highly questionable whether Miss Brodie s influence has any positive repercussions on any of her girls in later life I loved it

  9. says:

    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 comic and ultimately tragic schoolmistress Jean Brodie partly based on Spark s own teacher at her Edinburgh school , and her set of six wonderfully distinctive girls Monica, Sandy, Rose, Mary, Jenny, and Eunice getting the most out of her prime years At first, her ideas about beauty and goodness, her mysterious glamour and charm will dazzle and seduce her girls the cr me de la cr me at the Marcia Blaine School, but in the end the same gifts will go on to cause her untimely downfall Deftly laid out we flash backwards and forwards, to and from the 1930s, where education was a million miles away from the overly confident tech savvy kids of today, one thing that remains the same though, girls will be girls There s the boisterous gossip on romance and sex, falling in and out with friends, and dreaming of a bright future, whatever that may hold.There is also a great enemy lying in wait, the moody headmistress Miss Mackay, who believes not only are the girls being manipulated by Jean Brodie, but she is engaged in sex with the art teacher, Teddy Lloyd, with whom Miss Brodie is hopelessly in love Could there have be a betrayal on behalf of one of her girls She would take leave for Austria and Germany for a time, only to return consumed by fascism from mainland Europe prior to The Second World War Give me a girl at an impressionable age, she boasts, and she is mine for life Eventually that prediction will be fulfilled in the saddest way imaginable.Spark turns her novel into a deep questioning of authorial control and limit, there is a god like power of omniscience in Jean Brodie that made her a household name in terms of postwar fictional characters, Spark forces us to become Brodie s pupils as in the course of the novel we never leave the school to go home, alone, with Miss Brodie We surmise that there is something unfulfilled and even desperate about her, but the novelist refuses us access to her interior Brodie talks a great deal about her prime, but we don t witness it, and the nasty suspicion falls that perhaps to talk so much about one s prime is by definition no longer to be in it But this is just as much a playground ballad of Brodie s girls as it is a study of Brodie, each one has their own space within the novel, you do get acquainted and comfy with them, although it s Sandy who plays of an important role.On reflection this caught me completely off guard, I wasn t expecting it to hold my attention the way it did, but it worked, predominantly down to Spark s stupendous narrative that captured the old school ways and that quintessential relationship between teacher and pupils 4 5

  10. says:

    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 than the book itself Oh well I d recommend this just so you can read probably one of the greatest characters in 20th Century fiction.

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