London: Macmillan & Co Ltd, 1961. First Edition, First Printing. Octavo, 170 pages; VG/VG; in pictorial dust jacket, blue/green spine with black and red titling; mild rubbing and wear, particularly to head and tail of spine; dust jacket protected with a mylar covering, price uncut '13s 6d net';
Inscribed on the ffep by Muriel Spark, "For Rachel MacKenzie / with love / from Muriel"
JM consignment; shelved case 3.
Shelved Dupont Bookstore
Price: $5,000 save 20% $4,000
Rachel MacKenzie was a fiction editor at The New Yorker from 1956 through 1979. Known for nurturing the careers of such literary giants as Isaac Bashevis Singer and Saul Bellow, she also had a correspondence with Muriel Spark and encouraged her to submit to the New Yorker as early as 1957. In August of 1961 Spark sent MacKenzie her sixth novel, and MacKenzie promptly telegrammed her, “I love this book.” The entirety of the October issue was devoted to The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, similar to what had been done in 1946 for John Hersey's Hiroshima.
Spark moved to New York at the request of the New Yorker, and her relationship with MacKenzie soon soured. It is unknown exactly why, but reasons put forward have included MacKenzie's overbearing attitude and a romantic element, but the true cause is unknown. Spark did continue publishing with the New Yorker through 2003, though under different editors.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was listed on the Modern Library's list of the 100 greatest novels of the 20th century, as well as having been adapted for stage, film and television. Vanessa Redgrave stared in the original 1966 London stage version, Zoe Caldwell won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play in the 1968 Broadway production. The 1969 film starred Maggie Smith, and she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.;