Miss Jean Brodie from The Prime of Miss Jean BrodieRead about another entry on the list.
Muriel Spark’s Miss Brodie is the apotheosis of the teacher-as-charismatic-cult-leader strain in literature, from Socrates to Julian Morrow in Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. An enigmatic spinster at a conservative girls’ school in 1930s Edinburgh, she celebrates her “prime” by hand-picking a bunch of elect pupils to mould into the “crème de le crème”, via an appreciation of the rarefied delights of drama, art and incipient fascism (she’s an early admirer of Mussolini and Hitler). One of her charges compares her to a Calvinist deity (“she thinks she is Providence... the beginning and the end”), but Miss Brodie herself sounds more Jesuitical: “Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life!”
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is among Rachel Cooke's top ten spinsters, Karin Altenberg's top ten books about betrayal, Megan Abbott's five most dangerous mentors in fiction, the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five top books on teaching and learning and Ian Rankin's six best books. Miss Jean Brodie is one of John Mullan's ten best teachers in literature.
Also see Melissa Albert's six most notorious teachers in literature and John Mullan's ten best teachers in literature.