Muriel Spark’s Jean Brodie

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Seminar paper from the year 2000 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies – Literature, grade: 1,7, University of Dusseldorf “Heinrich Heine”, course: The Contemporary Novel, 16 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Muriel Spark is a modern Scottish writer with a lot of different faces. Her work is very faceted and full of new ideas. This is the reason why she has a huge impact on Scottish literature. As a feminist writer she has developed her own style to cope with literature. These remarks may lead to the conclusion that Spark’s fiction is an attempt to post-modern literature, which defines itself as breaking with old traditions and finding completely new ways of narrating and mixing reality with fiction. It may not at least be the reason for her novels being so popular since the time Spark started writing them in the late 1950s. In this paper special interest is drawn on Jean Brodie, the protagonist inThe Prime of Miss Jean Brodie(1961) because she is one of Spark’s most discussed characters. First, there will be given biographical details to illustrate parallels between the fictional story and the author’s life. Then the plot of the novel will be summarized to build a basis for investigation and to avoid complicated explanations in the following interpretation of the fictional figure. Jean Brodie as a literary character will be looked at from different angles. First, the origins of the character will be searched in Muriel Spark’s biography, and than the fictional person will be investigated on the background of the novel. The aim is to show that Spark created a very strong female character in the first place, which, in second place, loses power during the course of the novel due to exactly her extraordinary strong characteristics.

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