Inspiring Purpose

J.M. Barrie

Born in Kirriemuir, Angus, the son of a weaver, he graduated from Edinburgh University in 1882, then settled in London and became a regular contributor to the St James's Gazette and British Weekly (as 'Gavin Ogilvy'). He wrote a series of autobiographical prose works, including The Little Minister (1891, dramatized 1897), set in his native village disguised as 'Thrums'. From 1890 he wrote for the theatre. Works like the successful Walker, London (1892), and The Admirable Crichton (1902), a good-humoured social satire, established his reputation, but it is as the creator of Peter Pan (1904) that he will be chiefly remembered. Aware of the popular demand for dramatic sentimentality on the London stage, Barrie provided surface romance within dramatic structures which indirectly suggested a bleaker vision of life. He continued his excursions into fairyland in later plays such as Dear Brutus (1917) and Mary Rose (1920). His last play, The Boy David (1936), tried a biblical theme, but despite containing some of his finest writing won no laurels in the theatre.

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