Muriel Spark "You girls are my vocation... I am dedicated to you in my prime."
So says Miss Jean Brodie, a teacher unlike any other. She is proud and cultured. A romantic, with progressive, sometimes shocking ideas and aspirations for the girls in her charge. When she decides to transform a select group of pupils into the 'crème de la crème' at the Marcia Blaine School they become the Brodie set. In exchange for their undivided loyalty, the girls earn a special place of honour and privilege within the school. Yet they are also introduced to a startling new world of adult games and intrigues, and as boundaries are crossed so the difficulties start to unfold.
Miriam Margolyes, one of Britain's finest character actors, gives a highly accomplished performance; rediscover this classic on the 100th anniversary of Muriel Spark's birth.
Muriel Spark 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.
Muriel Spark “How wonderful to be an artist and a woman in the twentieth century,” Fleur Talbot rejoices. Loitering about London in 1949, with intent to gather material for her writing, Fleur finds a job “on the grubby edge of the literary world,” as secretary to the odd Autobiographical Association. Are they a group of mad egomaniacs, hilariously writing their memoirs in advance—or poor fools ensnared by a blackmailer? Rich material, in any case.
But when its pompous director, Sir Quentin, steals the manuscript of Fleur’s new novel, fiction begins to appropriate life. The association’s members begin to act out scenes exactly as Fleur herself had already written them in her missing manuscript. And as they meet darkly funny, pre-visioned fates, where does art start or reality end?
P.G. Wodehouse, James Thurber, Edgar Allan Poe, Rudyard Kipling, John Keats, Patricia Highsmith, Muriel Spark & Lewis Carroll This wonderful collection, ideal for cat lovers and feline fanatics, brings together the best and worst of catty behaviour. Ranging from the very funny to the profound, this collection has something to please everyone - without running the risk of developing an allergy!
Muriel Spark “Long ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions…” Thus begins Muriel Spark’s tragic and rapier-witted portrait of a London ladies’ hostel just emerging from the shadow of World War II. Like the May of Teck Club building itself—“three times window shattered since 1940 but never directly hit”—its lady inhabitants do their best to act as if the world were back to normal, practicing elocution and jostling over suitors and a single Schiaparelli gown. But the novel’s harrowing ending reveals that the girls’ giddy literary and amorous peregrinations are hiding some tragically painful war wounds.
Muriel Spark Set on the crazier fringes of 1950s literary London, A Far Cry from Kensington is a delight, hilariously portraying love, fraud, death, evil, and transformation.
Mrs. Hawkins, the majestic narrator of A Far Cry from Kensington, takes us well in hand and leads us back to her threadbare years in postwar London. There, as a fat and much admired young war widow, she spent her days working for a mad, near-bankrupt publisher (“of very good books”) and her nights dispensing advice at her small South Kensington rooming house. At work and at home Mrs. Hawkins soon uncovered evil: shady literary doings and a deadly enemy; anonymous letters, blackmail, and suicide. With aplomb, however, Mrs. Hawkins confidently set about putting things to order, little imagining the mayhem that would ensue.
Now decades older, thin, successful, and delighted with life in Italy—quite a far cry from Kensington—Mrs. Hawkins looks back to all those dark doings and recounts how her own life changed forever. She still, however, loves to give advice: “It’s easy to get thin. You eat and drink the same as always, only half…I offer this advice without fee; it is included in the price of this book.”
Muriel Spark From the cruel irony of A Member of the Family to the fateful echoes of The Go-Away Bird and the unexpectedly sinister The Girl I Left Behind Me, in settings that range from South Africa to the Portobello Road, Muriel Spark coolly probes the idiosyncrasies that lurk beneath the veneer of human respectability, displaying the acerbic wit and wisdom that are the hallmarks of her unique talent.
The Complete Short Stories is a collection to be loved and cherished, from one of the finest short-story writers of the twentieth century, rediscover it on the 100th anniversary of Muriel Spark's birth with outstanding performances by Emilia Fox, Richard E. Grant and Juliet Stevenson.
Muriel Spark The Mandelbaum Gate divides the conflict-torn realm of Jerusalem, separating Israel from Jordan. Barbara Vaughn, a stubborn young Englishwoman and half-Jewish Catholic convert, insists upon crossing the divide in order to rendezvous with her fiancé, in spite of the very real danger. Not even the threat of bodily harm and fearful admonishments of staid British diplomat Freddy Hamilton can dissuade Barbara from her ill-timed pilgrimage. Her quest sets off a series of bizarre situations and adventures, set against the backdrop of the Eichmann trial of 1961.
Muriel Spark has created a many-faceted novel, both comic and serious, enriched by a wealth of information.
Muriel Spark The Ballad of Peckham Rye is the wickedly farcical fable of a blue-collar town turned upside down. When the firm of Meadows, Meade & Grindley hires Dougal Douglas (a.k.a. Douglas Dougal) to do “human research” into the private lives of its workforce, they are in no way prepared for the mayhem, mutiny, and murder he will stir up. In fact, this Music Man of the thoroughly modern corporation changes the lives of all the eccentric characters he meets, from Miss Merle Coverdale, head of the typing pool, to V. R. Druce, unsuspecting managing director.
This is Dame Muriel Spark at her most devilishly piquant.
Muriel Spark College Sunrise is a vaguely disreputable finishing school in Lausanne, Switzerland. Rowland Mahler and his wife, Nina, run the school as a way to support themselves while he works, somewhat falteringly, on his novel. Into his creative writing class comes seventeen-year-old Chris Wiley, a literary prodigy whose historical novel-in-progress on Mary Queen of Scots and the murder of her husband Lord Darnley has already excited the interest of publishers. The inevitable results are keen envy and a game of cat and mouse not free of sexual jealousy and attraction.
Nobody writing has a keener instinct than Muriel Spark for hypocrisy, self-delusion, and moral ambiguity, or a more deliciously satirical eye. The Finishing School is certain to be another Spark landmark.