'The Brodie set" Muriel Spark’s "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie"' by Sally Grant

Reviewed by
June-July 2018, no. 402

'The Brodie set" Muriel Spark’s "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie"' by Sally Grant

Reviewed by
June-July 2018, no. 402

I don’t remember how old I was when I first saw the film version of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie . As a young girl growing up in north-east Scotland, I didn’t know that it had been adapted from a 1961 novel of the same name by a writer known for her keen observational skills and biting wit called Muriel Spark, or that the story had first appeared, almost word for word, in the pages of The New Yorker. Indeed, I highly doubt I had heard of that august publication, let alone understood the writerly prestige of having an issue of The New Yorker devoted to one story.

But I do remember that when the indomitable schoolteacher Miss Brodie, as channelled by the equally formidable Maggie Smith, said this to her pupils, in her distinctive Edinburgh burr, I was smitten:

Little girls, I am in the business of putting old heads on young shoulders, and all my pupils are the crème de la crème. Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life.

From the New Issue

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.