Hide-and-Seek with Angels: The Life of J.M. Barrie

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9780099453239: Hide-and-Seek with Angels: The Life of J.M. Barrie

A fascinating and emotional biography of the man who created Peter Pan.

When James Matthew Barrie died, in 1937, his funeral was an occasion for national mourning. Crowds gathered, reporters came to record the day, and many well-known figures followed the coffin to the churchyard. Later, a memorial service was held at St. Paul’s Cathedral for the Scottish weaver’s son who died Britain’s playwright extraordinaire.

A succession of novels and long-running plays had brought Barrie enormous wealth and critical acclaim. His public following extended to Hollywood where his work was performed by the stars of the silver screen. Unhappily such achievements did little to ameliorate the strains in Barrie’s private life. Hampered by a stigmatizing divorce, he was also struck by a series of tragic bereavements from which he never fully recovered. While savouring his public image, Barrie gave no more than a handful of interviews. During his lifetime this inscrutable, enigmatic man succeeded in his desire to remain only partially known.

Barrie was already famous for sophisticated political satires and social comedies when, with the creation of Peter Pan, his immense artistic gift was displayed at its extraordinary best. It became a part of the common culture of the Western world, and is as relevant today as on that first performance one hundred years ago.

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About the Author:

Lisa Chaney is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster on the history of culture. Her biography of Elizabeth David was published in 1998 to critical acclaim.

From The Washington Post:

The nexus of relationships that inspired James Matthew Barrie's masterpiece, "Peter Pan," would be out of the question in England or the United States today: A responsible parent would not let a grown man play with her young sons for hours at a time, day after day, year after year. But as viewers of the movie "Finding Neverland" know, Barrie did just that with his neighbors the Llewelyn Davies boys, informally adopting them after the death of their father. As a grownup, one of the boys, Nico, insisted that Barrie's love for them was entirely chaste, adding, "I don't believe that Uncle Jim ever experienced what one might call a stirring in the undergrowth for anyone -- man, woman, or child." In Hide-and-Seek with Angels: A Life of J.M. Barrie (St. Martin's, $27.95), Lisa Chaney stresses that while Barrie was undoubtedly smitten with the boys in some way, he was also standing apart and studying them as an artist. He had previously struggled to capture what Chaney calls "the mystery of growing up" in such plays as "Sentimental Tommy," and now -- with the brothers serving as a kind of living laboratory -- he was ready to perfect his "anatomy of childhood." The result was the play "Peter Pan," which became not only a classic but a proving ground for some of the greatest actors of the 2oth century. Among those who have played Peter have been Mary Martin, Jean Arthur, Margaret Lockwood, Glynis Johns, Mia Farrow and Dorothy Tutin; Capt. Hook has been played by Charles Laughton, Boris Karloff, Alistair Sim, Cyril Ritchard and Dustin Hoffman. Barrie expressed the impulse that lay behind his children's plays and novels in a passage that shows what a self-conscious artist he was: "I wish that the universe were radically different, since the world as it is is not just tragic, it is for me an impossibility. To be completely human -- with its full range of both practical and imaginative potentialities -- and to grow up; these are in a sense contradictories. By growing up, by co-operating in social order, living, one

has to curtail the imagination; by doing this one is obliged to give up so much that one becomes an unacceptably diminished person."

The Life of J.M. Barrie
Copyright 2006, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. When James Matthew Barrie died, in 1937, his funeral was an occasion for national mourning. Crowds gathered; reporters and newsreel men came to record the day, and many well-known figures followed the coffin to its resting place in the little churchyard up on the hill. In London, a month later at St Paul s Cathedral, a memorial service was held for the Scottish weaver s son who died Britain s playwright extraordinaire. A succession of novels and long-running plays had brought Barrie enormous wealth, critical acclaim, an hereditary Baronetcy and the Order of Merit. His public following extended to Hollywood where his work was performed by the stars of the silver screen. Unhappily, such achievements did little to ameliorate the strains in Barrie s private life. Hampered by a stigmatising divorce, he was also struck by a series of tragic bereavements from which he never fully recovered. At the same time, as savouring his public image, Barrie gave no more than a handful of interviews. During his lifetime, this inscrutable, enigmatic man succeeded in his desire to remain only partially known. Barrie was already famous for sophisticated political satires and social comedies when, with the creation of Peter Pan, his immense artistic gift was displayed at its extraordinary best. In the play, where All children except one grow up , Barrie had touched on a universal nerve, the problem of growing up. With Peter Pan, he created one of the greatest twentieth-century myths, and a work of art quite unlike anything that had gone before. It became a part of the common culture of the Western world, and is as relevant today as on that first performance one hundred years ago. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099453239

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. When James Matthew Barrie died, in 1937, his funeral was an occasion for national mourning. Crowds gathered; reporters and newsreel men came to record the day, and many well-known figures followed the coffin to its resting place in the little churchyard up on the hill. In London, a month later at St Paul s Cathedral a memorial service was held for the Scottish weaver s son who died Britain s playwright extraordinaire. A succession of novels and long-running plays had brought Barrie enormous wealth, critical acclaim, an hereditary Baronetcy and the Order of Merit. His public following extended to Hollywood where his work was performed by the stars of the silver screen. Unhappily such achievements did little to ameliorate the strains in Barrie s private life. Hampered by a stigmatising divorce, he was also struck by a series of tragic bereavements from which he never fully recovered. At the same time as savouring his public image, Barrie gave no more than a handful of interviews. During his lifetime this inscrutable, enigmatic man succeeded in his desire to remain only partially known. Barrie was already famous for sophisticated political satires and social comedies when, with the creation of Peter Pan, his immense artistic gift was displayed at its extraordinary best. In the play, where All children except one grow up , Barrie had touched on a universal nerve, the problem of growing up. With Peter Pan he created one of the greatest twentieth-century myths and a work of art quite unlike anything that had gone before. It became a part of the common culture of the Western world, and is as relevant today as on that first performance one hundred years ago. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099453239

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