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Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie includes an introduction by Candia McWilliam in Penguin Modern Classics. Romantic, heroic, comic and tragic, unconventional schoolmistress Jean Brodie has become an iconic figure in post-war fiction. Her glamour, unconventional ideas and manipulative charm hold dangerous sway over her girls at the Marcia Blaine Academy - 'the creme de la creme' - who become the Brodie 'set', introduced to a privileged world of adult games that they will never forget. Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was adapted into a successful stage play, and later a film directed by Ronald Neame and starring Maggie Smith. Muriel Spark (1918 - 2006) wrote poetry, stories, and biographies as well as a remarkable series of novels, including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), The Mandelbaum Gate (1965) which received the James Tait Black Prize, and The Public Image (1968) and Loitering with Intent (1981), both of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Spark was awarded the T.S. Eliot Award for poetry in 1992, and the David Cohen Prize for literature in 1997. If you enjoyed The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, you might like Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'A sublimely funny book ...it is a book to be read by all ...unforgettable and universal' Candia McWilliam, author of Debatable Land

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780141181424
ISBN-10: 0141181427
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 8mm)
Pages: 144
Imprint: Penguin Classics
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 24-Feb-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » 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)


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Author Biography - Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark has written poetry, stories, and biographies as well as her remarkable series of novels. She is an honorary member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and in 1993 was created OBE. A native of Scotland, she now lives in Italy.

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