Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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A novel by M. Spark, published 1961.

Set in Edinburgh during the 1930s, it describes the career of eccentric and egotistical Miss Brodie, teacher at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls, and her domination of her ‘set’ of 16‐year‐olds. With many flashes back and forward, it describes the manner in which Miss Brodie fascinates her disciples, who are particularly intrigued by her relationships with two male teachers, the married and Catholic art master, Mr Lloyd, and the bachelor Church of Scotland singing‐master, Mr Lowther, who, rejected after much dalliance by Miss Brodie, in despair marries the science mistress. Sandy, one of the set, has an affair with Mr Lloyd while Miss Brodie is away in the summer of 1938 touring Hitler's Germany; the results of this are that Sandy becomes a Catholic and arranges the dismissal of Miss Brodie on the grounds of her sympathy with Fascism. Miss Brodie herself, dangerous and compelling, is the centre of the novel's considerable moral ambiguity and complexity.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).

Reference entries

Muriel Spark (1918—2006) poet and novelist