In the classic work that launched a play, a movie, and a song, Muriel Spark tells the darkly intriguing story of an eccentric Edinburgh teacher and the intense relationship she develops with six of her students.
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, preaching the value of art, passion, and daring. She is also passionate 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 crème de la crème. 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.
Told from the unsympathetic perspective of one of Miss Brodie’s students, this novel explores themes of innocence, betrayal, and the tension between cold rationality and unchecked emotionalism.