John Donne said 'No man is an island.' Barrie disagreed. Islands feature in much of Barrie's work and we might even say he developed a 'Theory of Islands'. If you want an introduction into this, why not check out Barrie's own 1894 article 'Wrecked on an Island' and Cally Phillips' 2018 conference paper 'Islands and Identity'
Sentimental Tommy and its sequel Tommy and Grizel are both available in Society Editions with Introductions by Society member Dr Sarah Green.
Tommy Sandys is a fictional tour de force. Beyond offering a 'prototype' for Peter Pan, Sentimental Tommy was recognised in its day as 'a book of genius' and 'a melancholy portrait'. 'Technically as well as in its combination of insight and emotion, this book stands highest amongst Mr Barrie's achievements' (A.T.Quiller Couch 1896). Along with its sequel we learn about boys and 'growing up'. But we can learn much more than that. Barrie's narrative skill in manipulating his characters, and narrator, is matched by his skill in manipulating his readers, giving a significant and nuanced view of the word 'sentiment'. As Dr Green states, Sentimental Tommy 'is always raising such questions, rewarding multiple and careful re-readings'.
The sequel Tommy and Grizel - whose 'wonderful description of the devious mazes in the mind of this spoiled, selfish child genius will surely rank as one of his creator's greatest achievements (Daily News 1900) is a tour de force of narrative flexibility and mutability. Dr Green observes 'It is also both a masterpiece and criticism of the genre. It deserves to be recognised as one of the supreme achievements of late Victorian literature.'
This year you have the opportunity to try reading as it was experienced by many in the 1890s. The serialisation of works meant that 'slow reading' was the order of the day. To recreate that experience online www.unco.scot are posting chapters of The Little Minister each week so that you can slow right down, savour every chapter, and find out what the 'slow reading' experience is like. It may well change your understanding both of your relationship to narrative and its structure.
The Little Minister is posted HERE every week through till October 2019
Available in a Society Edition, edited with an Introduction by member Elena Silvestri Cecinelli.
This insight into the early writing of J.M.Barrie was described by contemporaries thus:
'Work of such delicate humour as this is too good to be buried in any newspaper, however literary, and those who laughed over the doings of the little band of votaries of the 'Arcadia' mixture will be glad to renew their acquaintance with Jimmy, and Gilray, and William John, while those who have not read the fugitive essays may congratulate themselves on having so capitvating a book before them.' (The Graphic, 1890)
Our Society edition includes a number of other Barrie short stories, including:
'We have a society edition which includes 'Better Dead', 'Echoes of the War' and 'Farewell, Miss Julie Logan'
'Better Dead' was Barrie's first, self-published, novella, written in 1887 and published in 1888.
In a later introduction to the work Barrie wrote:
'I have a sentimental interest in 'Better Dead,' for it was my first - published when I had small hope of getting anyone to accept the Scotch - and there was a week when I loved to carry it in my pocket and did not think it dead weight.'
Our Honorary President Andrew Nash wrote an article about it in 2015 for the Scottish Literary Review, titled 'Better Dead: J.M.Barrie's first book and the shilling fiction market.'
2018 saw the anniversary of the publication of 'Echoes of the War,' four short plays about the First World war. These are both funny and poignant as well as hugely revealing as regards the experience of ordinary people during that time. 'A Well Remembered Voice' was given a 'scratch' reading at our 2018 Barrie Birthday celebrations and Cally Phillips gave a talk on the collection at Wigtown Book Festival later in the year.
Farewell, Miss Julie Logan' is Barrie's last short prose fiction. It is still well received where it is read and offers an interesting juxtaposition with his earlier works as well as revisiting some familiar themes.
The Society edition is available at www.unco.scot HERE or at Amazon (UK) and worldwide . Make sure you buy the Society editions as all profit goes directly back into promoting the J.M.Barrie Literary Society.
Our first Society edition Auld Licht Idylls, A Window in Thrums and Margaret Ogilvy offers the reader the opportunity to explore 'Thrums' (Barrie's fictional version of Kirriemuir) in all its 'glory.' In all three we see fiction and fact melded together, sometimes humorously, sometimes uncomfortably, as Barrie represents a version of the world known to his mother and largely derived from the stories they shared in his childhood.
Our Society Edition includes prose and dramatic versions of bachelorhood Barrie style. The prose of When a Man's Single is transformed into the dramatic bestseller Walker, London showing Barrie at his flexible best. We also include two other, harder to find, stories: the serials The Superflous Man and Young Men I have Met, giving the reader the opportunity to develop an understanding of Barrie's style, method and substance beyond the 'bestseller'. These go to show that there are no 'small' stories in Barrie's armoury - and that the more widely and deeply you read his works, the more insight you will gain.
The place for people to find out more and exchange their thoughts about Barrie's work