The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

By Muriel Spark; James Wood (Essay by)

Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061711299, 137pp.

Publication Date: February 10, 2009


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, in her attraction to the married art master, Teddy Lloyd, in her affair with the bachelor music master, Gordon Lowther, and most important in her dedication to "her girls," the students she selects to be her creme de la creme. Fanatically devoted, each member of the Brodie set Eunice, Jenny, Mary, Monica, Rose, and Sandy is "famous for something," and Miss Brodie strives to bring out the best in each one. Determined to instill in them independence, passion, and ambition, Miss Brodie advises her girls, "Safety does not come first. Goodness, Truth, and Beauty come first. Follow me."

And they do. But one of them will betray her.

About the Author
The writer of some of the best sentences in English (The New Yorker), Muriel Spark (1918 2006) was the author of dozens of novels including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Memento Mori, and The Driver s Seat. She became Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1993.

JAMES WOOD was chief literary critic of The Guardian (London) and is senior editor at The New Republic. His first collection of essays, The Broken Estate, was published in 1999. He lives in Washington, D.C.