Books

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie

Muriel Spark

Beautifully packaged reissue of Muriel Spark's best loved novel, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

'You girls are my vocation . . . I am dedicated to you in my prime'

Miss Jean Brodie is a schoolmistress with a difference. She is proud, cultured and romantic but her educational ideas are highly progressive and even deeply shocking. So when she decides to transform a group of 'special girls' into the crème de la crème at Marcia Blaine School they are soon known, perhaps suspiciously, as the Brodie set.

Introduced to an unsettling world of adult games and curious intrigues, the Brodie Set know that they are honoured and privileged. Yet there is a price to pay - they must give Miss Brodie their undivided loyalty . . .

'The most gifted and innovative British novelist of her generation' David Lodge, The New York Times

'Spark's novels linger in the mind as brilliant shards' John Updike, New Yorker

'One of the greatest books about growing up' James Wood, Guardian

Muriel Spark was born and educated in Edinburgh. She was active in the field of creative writing since 1950, when she won a short-story writing competition in the Observer, and her many subsequent novels include Memento Mori (1959), The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), The Girls of Slender Means (1963) and Aiding and Abetting (2000). She also wrote plays, poems, children's books and biographies. She became Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1993, and died in 2006.

The Girls Of Slender Means

Muriel Spark

Beautifully packaged reissue of one of Muriel Spark's best loved novels, The Girls of Slender Means

'Long ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions'

In the May of Teck Club - a London hostel 'three times window shattered since 1940 but never directly hit' - the young lady residents do their best to act as if the war never happened. They practice elocution, and jostle one another over suitors and a single Schiaparelli gown. But behind the girls' giddy literary and amorous peregrinations they hide some tragically painful secrets and wounds.'You girls are my vocation . . . I am dedicated to you in my prime'

'Reading the novel as a young woman was a random gift; rereading it today is to encounter the rarest of fiction and to appreciate the early and enduring genius of Muriel Spark' Carol Shields, Guardian

'One of Spark's most evocative novels' Anne Taylor

Muriel Spark was born and educated in Edinburgh. She was active in the field of creative writing since 1950, when she won a short-story writing competition in the Observer, and her many subsequent novels include Memento Mori (1959), The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), The Girls of Slender Means (1963) and Aiding and Abetting (2000). She also wrote plays, poems, children's books and biographies. She became Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1993, and died in 2006.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark's classic The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie features a schoolmistress you'll never forget, in this beautifully repackaged Penguin Essentials edition.

'Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life . . .'

Passionate, free-thinking and unconventional, Miss Brodie is a teacher who exerts a powerful influence over her group of 'special girls' at Marcia Blaine School. They are the Brodie set, the crème de la crème, each famous for something - Monica for mathematics, Eunice for swimming, Rose for sex - who are initiated into a world of adult games and extracurricular activities they will never forget. But the price they pay is their undivided loyalty . . .

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a brilliantly comic novel featuring one of the most unforgettable characters in all literature.

'Muriel Spark's novels linger in the mind as brilliant shards' John Updike

'Spark's most celebrated novel' Independent

'There is no question about the quality and distinctiveness of her writing, with its quirky concern with human nature, and its comedy' William Boyd

'A brilliant psychological figure' Observer

Muriel Spark was born and educated in Edinburgh. She was active in the field of creative writing since 1950, when she won a short-story writing competition in the Observer, and her many subsequent novels include Memento Mori (1959), The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), The Girls of Slender Means (1963) and Aiding and Abetting (2000). She also wrote plays, poems, children's books and biographies. She became Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1993, and died in 2006.

The Driver's Seat

Muriel Spark (and others)

Described as 'a metaphysical shocker' at the time of its release, Muriel Sparks' The Driver's Seat is a taut psychological thriller, published with an introduction by John Lanchester in Penguin Modern Classics.

Lise has been driven to distraction by working in the same accountants' office for sixteen years. So she leaves everything behind her, transforms herself into a laughing, garishly-dressed temptress and flies abroad on the holiday of a lifetime. But her search for adventure, sex and new experiences takes on a far darker significance as she heads on a journey of self-destruction. Infinity and eternity attend Lise's last terrible day in an unnamed southern city, as she meets her fate. One of six novels to be nominated for a 'Lost Man Booker Prize', The Driver's Seat was adapted into a 1974 film, Identikit, starring Elizabeth Taylor.

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 Driver's Seat, you might like Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'An extraordinary tour de force, a crime story turned inside out'
David Lodge

'Her spiny and treacherous masterpiece'
New Yorker

The Ballad of Peckham Rye

Muriel Spark (and others)

A man of devilish charm and enterprising spirit, Dougal Douglas is employed to revitalize the ailing firm of Meadows, Meade & Grindley. He succeeds, but not quite in the way his employer intended. Strange things begin to happen as Dougal exerts an uncanny influence on the inhabitants of Peckham Rye and brings lies, tears, blackmail and even murder into the lives of all he meets, from Miss Merle Coverdale, head of the typing pool, to Beauty, the resident femme fatale, and even Mr Druce, the unsuspecting Managing Director himself.

Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie

Muriel Spark

The brevity of Muriel Spark's novels is equaled only by their brilliance. These four novels, each a miniature masterpiece, illustrate her development over four decades. Despite the seriousness of their themes, all four are fantastic comedies of manners, bristling with wit.
Spark's most celebrated novel, THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE, tells the story of a charismatic schoolteacher's catastrophic effect on her pupils. THE GIRLS OF SLENDER MEANS is a beautifully drawn portrait of young women living in a hostel in London in the giddy postwar days of 1945. THE DRIVER'S SEAT follows the final haunted hours of a woman descending into madness. And THE ONLY PROBLEM is a witty fable about suffering that brings the Book of Job to bear on contemporary terrorism.

Characters are vividly etched in a few words; earth-shaking events are lightly touched on. Yet underneath the glittering surface there is an obsessive probing of metaphysical questions: the meaning of good and evil, the need for salvation, the search for significance.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Muriel Spark (and others)

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 crème de la crème' - 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

Biography

Muriel Spark (born February 1, 1918) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. She began writing seriously after the war, beginning with poetry and literary criticism. In 1947, she became editor of the Poetry Review. Her first novel The Comforters was published in 1957, but it was The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1962) which established her reputation. After living in New York for some years, she settled in Italy in the late 1960s. She became Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1993.