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Descriptions du produit

J.M.Barrie and the Lost Boys Drawing on a range of material by and about J.M. Barrie, this is a biography of the novelist, playwright, and author of "Peter Pan or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up". It includes material from recorded interviews with the Llewelyn Davies family and is reissued to mark the centenary of "Peter Pan". Full description

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 336 pages
  • Editeur : Yale University Press; Édition : New edition (24 juin 2003)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0300098227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300098228
  • Dimensions du produit: 23,4 x 16,5 x 2,3 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Holly G. le 17 août 2008
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Andrew Birkin a consacré une large part de son existence à James Matthew Barrie. Il est à la fois le gardien fidèle de sa mémoire et le biographe objectif dont on rêve. Personne n'a fait mieux que lui à ce jour. Une oeuvre immense, qui foisonne de documents. Un livre ultime dévolu à un génie écrivain.
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157 internautes sur 159 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Sad and Beautiful Story 25 juillet 2003
Par Stuart Gibson - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Wonderful news ... this new edition makes available a book that's been out-of print for much too long.
Birkin completed the book when adapting the story of J M Barrie for a BBC mini-series, The Lost Boys. As well as writing Peter Pan, Barrie was in his time, regarded as a playwright the equal of George Bernard Shaw. That his work quickly fell out of favour may be due to its pathos and close relation to Barrie's own life.
I stumbled across this book over ten years ago, and its poignancy, honestly and power have been with me ever since.
It centres around the Llewelyn Davies family, which became the inspiration for Peter Pan, but went on to have an even more profound impact upon the life of the melancholic Scottish playwright.
As one of the protagonists later wrote, the masses of photographs (extensively reproduced in the book) seem to foretell the whole sad story. Indeed, Birkin's strength is allowing the story to unfold through letters, images and quotation from Barrie's surprisingly autobiographical work. What emerges is the finest of biographies. Peter Pan acquires a whole new sad significance in the light of this book, and it captures the fading Edwardian twighlight exquisitely.
Upon the death of the last of the Llewelyn Davies boys (after first publication), the majority of the material used in the book was bequeathed to Birkin, a ringing endorsement of his sensitive and perceptive retelling of the story.
I cannot recommend this book too highly.
182 internautes sur 192 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
"Don't Turn Up The Light!" 4 janvier 2005
Par The Wingchair Critic - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Back in print after a quarter of a century, Andrew Birkin's 'J. M. Barrie & the Lost Boys: The Love Story That Gave Birth To Peter Pan' (1979) is a mesmerizing and genuinely tragic book that succeeds on every level. As the title suggests, the book is not only a biography of Scottish playwright and novelist J. M. Barrie, but of the Llewelyn Davies family, whose five sons, with Barrie's dead brother, David, inspired the creation Peter Pan, one of Western literature's most enduring and suitably timeless figures.

By drawing heavily on Barrie's notebooks as well as his and the Llewelyn Davies family's letters and other correspondence, the text allows the large cast of participants to tell their story in piecemeal fashion. The result, which resembles an elaborate mosaic, is a poignant reflection on tragic events, both those which might have been averted and those, like disease and the Great War, which could not have been.

'J. M. Barrie & the Lost Boys' is also an excellent illustration of Freud's theory of 'family romance' in both its constructive and destructive aspects. The sentimental Barrie was deeply tied to and haunted by his own familial relationships, a psychology he brought to and projected upon the Llewelyn Davies family after becoming enchanted by two of their young boys in Kensington Gardens. Barrie was a middle aged and childless man, if a very successful one, at that time in his life, and his manipulative and interloping intrusion into the family has been a subject of speculation by historians and literary scholars ever since.

Though ostensibly nothing less than financially generous and well-intentioned, as Humphrey Carpenter illustrated in 'Secret Gardens' (1985), even Barrie's earliest work inspired by the Llewelyn Davies boys, 'The Little White Bird' (1902, later reissued as 'Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens'), contained material which suggested that Barrie's fascination with the boys was potentially inappropriate.

In one passage, a very young boy, modeled on George Llewelyn Davies, invites himself into a grown man's bed with language that is simultaneously seductive, hesitant, and tender. The narrator, who stands in for Barrie, accepts the boy's invitation, stating, "It is what I have been wanting all the time," like a breathless and succumbing lover. Climbing into bed, the young boy then sleeps "on and across" the narrator, "retains possession" of the man's "finger," and "occasionally" awakens him to assert that "he was sleeping with me."

So obsessively tied to the Llewelyn Davies boys was Barrie that when his favorite, the sensitive, brilliant, and troubled Michael, drowned under unusual circumstances at 17, Birkin is accurately able to state that Barrie's life was now rendered "utterly pointless" without him; Barrie's comment was "for ever and ever I am thinking of him."

Though Michael undoubtedly loved Barrie, he was plagued by night terrors throughout his boyhood, which may have possibly arisen not only from Barrie's passive-aggressive takeover of the boy's family, but from Barrie's own narrowly fixated and smothering love.

After mother Sylvia Llewelyn Davies' early death, Barrie went so far as to misrepresent her will in such a manner as to give himself duo guardianship over the children. Not surprisingly, two of the boys, Jack and Peter, neither of whom were Barrie favorites, eyed him with increasing suspicion and thinly-veiled hostility as they grew into adolescence and beyond.

Barrie, however, was not the only presence in the boys' lives guided by inappropriately managed emotion: in later years, their beloved nanny, Mary Hodgson, who detested Barrie and fought a protracted cold war with him over the boys' affections for years, eventually refused to acknowledge their young wives with such vehemence that she induced a miscarriage in one, before finally acknowledging her jealousy and surrendering her position.

Part of the sadness inherent in 'J. M. Barrie & the Lost Boys' is the genuine tragedy that arises, against the backdrops of Kensington Gardens, Eton, and the London theater, from the unrelenting destruction of the high Edwardian ideals and genuinely noble characters that most of those involved embodied.

As the numerous photographs attest, the early life of the handsome Llewelyn Davies family was loving, hopeful, relatively prosperous, and enchanted, but the coming years brought disfigurement from facial tumors, cancer, the boys orphaned at early ages, the deaths of vital family members in War World I, and at least one verifiable suicide among them. Barrie's apparently celibate marriage collapsed, and a key figure in his personal and professional life died during the sinking of the Lusitania.

Amidst these tragedies and those of Barrie's youth arose the transcendent figure of Peter Pan, the apparently indestructible boy who, by willfully failing to mature, believes he has discovered a means of permanently avoiding the tragedies inherent in the normal cycle of life.

But wayward, thoughtless, selfish, and repeatedly manifesting other unmistakable signs of sociopathology, the deluded Peter in fact only condemns himself to an existence of eternal isolation and the repetitious loss of those he chooses as companions, as 'Peter And Wendy' (1911, reissued as 'Peter Pan and Wendy' in 1921 and eventually as 'Peter Pan') makes evident in the passage in which the Darling children finally return to their parents from the Neverland: "There could not have been a lovelier sight; but there was none to see it except a strange boy who was staring in at the window. He had ecstasies innumerable that other children can never know; but he was looking through the window at the one joy from which he must be forever barred."

An even more grueling scene follows in the final chapter, in which, years later, the unreflective Peter visits Wendy, expecting to find a young girl, only to be confronted by a mature women, with children of her own, standing in a dimly-lit room. Vaguely sensing the truth, "at last a fear assailed him," leading Peter to cry out, in a telling phrase that applies to 'J. M. Barrie & the Lost Boys' as a whole, "Don't turn up the light!"
43 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Excellent book, will move you... 1 octobre 2003
Par Holden - Publié sur
Format: Broché
J.M. Barrie is truly a genius and Birkin has captured this genius with all of its pain and dysfunction in this great biography. This new large paperback version of Birkin’s book is excellent. It contains all of the material from the original hardcover including a lot of photographs. This newest version also has an updated forward and provides a web link to the Author’s full collection of Barrie writings and photographs.
I originally read the mass market size, paperback of this biography and was very pleased. However, I now realize how much I had missed, in terms of photographs and reproductions. This newest version is a real must-have for those interested in the life and work of Barrie.
Birkin does an extraordinary job of showing us Barrie’s life and work and most importantly his relationship with the Llewelyn Davies family. He does all of this without passing judgement, which in my view is the true test of a good biographer. Too often history and biography falls prey to post-modern sensibilities and correctness.
This story is touching and sad. Read this biography and then re-read some of the classic Barrie novels, they will come to life for you. One of my best reads of the year, highly recommended!
36 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Many Origins of Peter Pan 3 mai 2005
Par R. Hardy - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
With the release of the film _Neverland_ to critical and popular acclaim, most people got their first introduction to the life of the creator of Peter Pan, James Matthew Barrie. Film biographies are notorious for their additions and deletions for dramatic or commercial purposes, and while _Neverland_ did fairly well in its telling of a limited part of the story, those who are interested in a larger and fuller picture will love reading _J. M. Barrie and the Lost Boys: The Real Story behind Peter Pan_ (Yale University Press) by Andrew Birkin, in a recent new edition. Birkin's work first came out in 1979, after his trilogy of television plays on the theme. He says he is interested in filming an authentic Peter Pan, and he could be trusted to do so, when the original has already been turned into pantomime, cartoon, and the update by Robin Williams and Stephen Spielberg. His loving, sad, and wonderfully illustrated biography shows him to be our leading authority on the story of Peter Pan and how it came to be told.

Barrie was born in 1861 in the weaving village of Kirriemuir in Scotland. When he was six, his older brother died, and Barrie realized that for their mother, the idealized elder brother would always be a boy of thirteen. The theme of the boy who never grew up was to be a constant in Barrie's novels and plays. He was notoriously quiet and shy, as he would be all his life, attracting little observation by others, but observing others constantly. He became a journalist and then a tremendously successful novelist and playwright. He married, but his real love was for children, and he and his wife (who left him for a lover fifteen years later) never had any. The "lost boys" of the title, and the originals of those in Peter Pan, were the five sons of Arthur and Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, whom he befriended within nearby Kensington Gardens. The senior Davies were a model couple devoted to each other, but Barrie insinuated himself into the family by his overpowering sense of juvenile fun and by fostering the imaginations of the sons. He became a staple of the family, discomforting the boys' father and causing lifelong resentment in their nursemaid. The fantasy life he led with the boys in Kensington Gardens included dressing up in costume, and the many photographs reproduced here (frequently by Barrie himself) show the boys happily engaged in outdoor amateur theatricals. They sharpened his memory and preoccupation for childhood and were the inspiration for his literary output.

Boys do grow up, of course; George was killed in World War I, and the twenty-year-old Michael drowned with a fellow Oxford undergraduate in an accident or suicide pact. Barrie was devastated; Peter observed that the Davies family had in the end brought him "so much more sorrow than happiness." Birkin's work is not a full biography, but an examination of his relationship with his five boys, and ends quickly after Michael's death. Jack and Nico had prosperous lives, but Peter was troubled by his association with Barrie's masterpiece. He was ragged at Eton for being "the real Peter Pan," and that turned out to be his one link to fame. He became a well known publisher, but when he threw himself under a train at the age of 63, the press noted the death of Peter Pan; he had called _Peter Pan_ "that terrible masterpiece." Peter did amass a six-volume family history, upon which Birkin draws. Birkin's other great sources are Barrie's published works, and his notebooks, which are available on Birkin's fine website, and the wonderful, touching pictures of some very photogenic boys often in costume. Birkin is obviously devoted to his subject, and anyone interested in Peter Pan and Barrie's other writings, will love them more deeply after reading this penetrating portrait.
29 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An Excellent Biography 4 mars 2005
Par David A. Wend - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I bought a copy of Andrew Birkin's book after seeing "Finding Neverland," which sparked my interest in the real J.M. Barrie. My interest was to uncover some of the truth behind the story of the film knowing full well that films cannot relate all of what happened. I have never seen Peter Pan on the stage and only know the play from film versions, so I was also interested in where Barrie's ideas for his creation came from. This book is really an illustrated biography with each page having one or more photographs. The selection of photographs almost succeeeds in telling the story without the words. The book begins by traceing the life and James Barrie in the initial chapters; his education, family, the ealy death of one of his brothers (which may have been one of the influences of Peter Pan) and how he embarked on his literary career. The turning point of the book arrives where Barrie meets George Llewellyn Davies in Kensington Gardens, which leads to his relationship with the Sylvia Llewellyn Davis, her husband Arthur and their growing family.

Mr. Birkin does a magnificent job in setting the stage with his background of the families of Sylvia and Arthur how Barrie's relationship with their five sons developed. We are given a lot of detail up the the death of Michael by drowning (certainly a suicide). The remainder of Barrie's life (from 1921 to 1937) is related in a brief epiloge. It seems that Mr. Birkin ackowledges that the key to Barrie's life was Michael and upon his death there is not much to relate.

Mr. Birkin does a great job tracing the development of Peter Pan. I found my interest flagging, however, after the death of Sylvia, particularly in Mr. Birkin's quoting of letters, sometimes one letter being followed by another and another. I was wishing that he had extrapolated his sources into his own narrative of events and I often skipped reading the letters as they became tedious in advancing his story. Ultimately, J. M. Barrie remains an enigma for me; I know much more about him and his relationship with his boys but his personality is still mysterious. The story is also a sad one marked by many tragic events. One cannot help feeling that the lives of the Llewellyn Davies children were blighted by the tragic events of the early deaths of their parents, the First World War and the deaths of George and Michael.

I would recommend this book highly to anyone wanting to know more about J. M. Barrie and Peter Pan but I also think that it is not a definitive book and more could and should be written about this author and his relationships.
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