"Not while I am in my prime," she said. "These years are still the years of my prime. It is important to recognize the years of one's prime, always remember that."
"The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" (1961) is a short, almost novella length, story about an influential teacher, her students, and her eventual undoing, which still sparkles (pun intended) and shines over 60 years later. It was made into a film starring Maggie Smith, for which she won an Oscar. I picked it up because it was on the Modern Library's best novels of the century list.
As with other's I love to know how it was received in it's time. Nothing very shocking in today's world but can imagine it was in the league of Catcher in the Rye when published. Plan to look for the movie as I just learned that Maggie Smith won an Academy Award for best actress for it. My favorite part is Miss Brodie's discouragement of team spirit!!!
Very dated. I could not identify or emphathize with any of the characters.
The character of Miss Jean Brodie was very interesting but the overall reading experience was a bit weak for me.
14/09 - Reading this reminds me of reading Enid Blyton's Malory Towers or St Clare's school series, except with much more adult themes and dialogue. I wasn't alive during the 60s, so I don't really know how scandalised the readers and censors would have been by this book, but as I'm reading it I keep thinking "I can't believe the censors allowed some of this subject material to be published". Not that I have a problem with it personally (I mean check out my reading list and you'll see how little of a problem I'm likely to have with the themes in this book), but I get the feeling that that open-mindedness wouldn't have been shared by the majority of the public in 1961. I mean they still had seperate entrances for boys and girls at schools, how would they have dealt with 10-11 year-old girls discussing/writing stories about the sexual intercourse of a teacher? To be continued...
16/09 - Sandy's betrayal of Miss Brodie seemed to me like Miss Brodie was getting her just desserts. The way she treated some of the students who made up her 'set' - moving them around like chess pieces or as if they're her own personal dolls to be played with as she sees fit - it's not surprising that one of them turned against her. I don't exactly understand her reasons for wanting to set up Rose with painting master Mr Lloyd. I don't think Miss Brodie's motivations were properly, or at all, explained. She just seemed to have this long-term plan which involved Rose and Mr Lloyd having an affair (despite Rose's youth) but ended up with Sandy having the affair (which seemed to me to precipitate Sandy's betrayal), but the reader doesn't know why. I've always said I'm no good with themes that aren't glaringly obvious, so that might be the problem here, rather than the lack of explanation by Spark.
Written in 1961, about a teacher in Edinburgh who sees the world differently (to say the least) than others. Pretty sure the book was slightly scandalous when it was published. Miss Brodie and her "set" of young ladies in the Junior Class (11-12) were enlightened or corrupted by their teacher; " for in your last year with me, you will recieve the fruits of my prime". Jean is a little, tiny bit full of herself. Very interesting how the book bounces about and gives the girl's views of her as adults. Each girl being the Creme de la Creme and having a certain gift, must surely give them the best of vantage points. A fun , quicky read.
Such a powerful story in such a short novel. My first intro to Muriel Spark - I thought it genius that the character with the very small eyes had the greatest insight into the character of Miss Brodie.
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