J. M. Barrie: Wikis


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J. M. Barrie

James Matthew Barrie in 1890
Born 9 May 1860(1860-05-09)
Kirriemuir, Scotland
Died 19 June 1937 (aged 77)
London, England
Occupation novelist, playwright
Nationality British
Period Victorian, Edwardian
Genres children's literature, drama, fantasy
Literary movement Kailyard school
Notable work(s) The Little White Bird
Peter Pan
Spouse(s) Mary Ansell (1894–1909)
Children guardian of the Llewelyn Davies boys
Official website

Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM (9 May 1860 – 19 June 1937) was a Scottish author and dramatist. He is best remembered for creating Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up, whom he based on his friends, the Llewelyn Davies boys. He is also credited with popularising the name Wendy, which was very uncommon before he gave it to the heroine of Peter Pan.[1]


Childhood and adolescence

Barrie was born in Kirriemuir, Angus, to a conservative Calvinist family. His father David Barrie was a modestly successful weaver. His mother Margaret Ogilvy Barrie had assumed her deceased mother's household responsibilities at the age of 8. Barrie was the ninth child of ten (two of whom died before he was born), all of whom were schooled in at least the three Rs, in preparation for possible professional careers. He was a small child (he only grew to 5 ft 3½ in. according to his 1934 passport), and drew attention to himself with storytelling.

When he was 6 years old, Barrie's next-older brother David (his mother's favourite) died two days before his 14th birthday in an ice-skating accident. This left his mother devastated, and Barrie tried to fill David's place in his mother's attentions, even wearing David's clothes and whistling in the manner that he did. One time Barrie entered her room, and heard her say 'Is that you?' 'I thought it was the dead boy she was speaking to,' wrote Barrie in his biographical account of his mother, Margaret Ogilvy (1896), 'and I said in a little lonely voice, "No, it's no' him, it's just me."' Barrie's mother found comfort in the fact that her dead son would remain a boy forever, never to grow up and leave her.[2] Despite evidence to the contrary, it has been speculated that this trauma induced psychogenic dwarfism, and was responsible for his short stature and apparently asexual adulthood.[3] Eventually Barrie and his mother entertained each other with stories of her brief childhood and books such as Robinson Crusoe and The Pilgrim's Progress.[4]

At the age of 8, Barrie was sent to The Glasgow Academy, in the care of his eldest siblings Alexander and Mary Ann, who taught at the school. When he was 10 he returned home and continued his education at the Forfar Academy. At 13, he left home for Dumfries Academy, again under the watch of Alexander and Mary Ann. He became a voracious reader, and was fond of penny dreadfuls, and the works of Robert Michael Ballantyne and James Fenimore Cooper. At Dumfries he and his friends spent time in the garden of Moat Brae house, playing pirates 'in a sort of Odyssey that was long afterwards to become the play of Peter Pan'.[5][6] They formed a drama club, producing his first play Bandelero the Bandit, which provoked a minor controversy following a scathing moral denunciation from a clergyman on the school's governing board.[4]

Literary career

Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens, London

Barrie wished to pursue a career as an author, but was persuaded by his family — who wished him to have a profession such as the ministry — to enroll at the University of Edinburgh, where he wrote drama reviews for a local newspaper. He worked for a year and a half as a staff journalist in Nottingham following a job advertisement found by his sister in a newspaper, then returned to Kirriemuir, using his mother's stories about the town (which he called 'Thrums') for a piece submitted to a paper in London. The editor 'liked that Scotch thing',[4] so Barrie wrote a series of them, which served as the basis for his first novels: Auld Licht Idylls (1888), A Window in Thrums (1890),[7] and The Little Minister (1891). Literary criticism of these early works has been unfavourable, tending to disparage them as sentimental and nostalgic depictions of a parochial Scotland far from the realities of the industrialised nineteenth century, but they were popular enough to establish Barrie as a very successful writer. His two 'Tommy' novels, Sentimental Tommy (1896) and Tommy and Grizel (1902), were about a boy and young man who clings to childish fantasy, with an unhappy ending.

Meanwhile, Barrie's attention turned increasingly to works for the theatre, beginning with a biography about Richard Savage (performed only once, and critically panned). He immediately followed this with Ibsen's Ghost (1891), a parody of Henrik Ibsen's dramas Hedda Gabler and Ghosts (unlicensed in the UK until 1914,[8] it had created a sensation at the time from a single 'club' performance). The production of Barrie's play at Toole's Theatre in London was seen by William Archer, the translator of Ibsen's works into English, who enjoyed the humour of the play and recommended it to others. Barrie also authored Jane Annie, a failed comic opera for Richard D'Oyly Carte (1893), which he begged his friend Arthur Conan Doyle to revise and finish for him. In 1901 and 1902 he had back-to-back successes: Quality Street, about a responsible 'old maid' who poses as her own flirtatious niece to win the attention of a former suitor returned from the war; and The Admirable Crichton, a critically-acclaimed social commentary with elaborate staging, about an aristocratic household shipwrecked on a desert island, in which the butler naturally rises to leadership over his lord and ladies for the duration of their time away from civilization.

The first appearance of Peter Pan came in The Little White Bird, which was serialised in the United States, then published in a single volume in the UK in 1901. Barrie's most famous and enduring work, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, had its first stage performance on 27 December 1904. This play introduced audiences to the name Wendy, which was inspired by a young girl, Margaret Henley, who called Barrie 'Friendy', but could not pronounce her Rs very well and so it came out as 'Fwendy'. It has been performed innumerable times since then, was developed by Barrie into the 1911 novel Peter and Wendy, and has been adapted by others into feature films, musicals, and more. The Bloomsbury scenes show the societal constraints of late Victorian middle-class domestic reality, contrasted with Neverland, a world where morality is ambivalent. George Bernard Shaw's description of the play as 'ostensibly a holiday entertainment for children but really a play for grown-up people', suggests deeper social allegories at work in Peter Pan. In 1929 Barrie specified that the copyright of the Peter Pan works should go to the nation's leading children's hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. The current status of the copyright is somewhat complex.

Barrie had a long string of successes on the stage after Peter Pan, many of which discuss social concerns. The Twelve Pound Look shows a wife divorcing a peer and gaining an independent income. Other plays, such as Mary Rose and a subplot in Dear Brutus revisit the image of the ageless child. Later plays included What Every Woman Knows (1908). His final play was The Boy David (1936), which dramatised the Biblical story of King Saul and the young David. Like the role of Peter Pan, that of David was played by a woman, Elisabeth Bergner, for whom Barrie wrote the play.

Barrie used his considerable income to help finance the production of commercially unsuccessful stage productions. Along with a number of other playwrights, he was involved in the 1909 and 1911 attempts to challenge the censorship of the theatre by the Lord Chamberlain.


Barrie travelled in high literary circles, and in addition to his professional collaborators, he had many famous friends. Novelist George Meredith was an early social patron. He had a long correspondence with fellow Scot Robert Louis Stevenson, who lived in Samoa at the time, but the two never met in person. George Bernard Shaw was for several years his neighbour, and once participated in a Western that Barrie scripted and filmed. H. G. Wells was a friend of many years, and tried to intervene when Barrie's marriage fell apart. Barrie met Thomas Hardy through Hugh Clifford while he was staying in London.

After the First World War Barrie sometimes stayed at Stanway House. He paid for the pavilion at Stanway cricket ground. Barrie founded an amateur cricket team for his friends. Conan Doyle, Wells, and other luminaries such as Jerome K. Jerome, G. K. Chesterton, A. A. Milne, Walter Raleigh, A. E. W. Mason, E. V. Lucas, Maurice Hewlett, E. W. Hornung, P. G. Wodehouse, Owen Seaman, Bernard Partridge, Augustine Birrell, Paul du Chaillu, and the son of Alfred Tennyson played in the team at various times. The team was called the Allahakbarries, under the mistaken belief that 'Allah akbar' meant 'Heaven help us' in Arabic (rather than 'God is great').[4]

Barrie befriended Africa explorer Joseph Thomson and Antarctica explorer Robert Falcon Scott. He was godfather to Scott's son Peter,[4] and was one of the seven people to whom Scott wrote letters in the final hours of his life following his successful – but doomed – expedition to the South Pole.

Barrie's close friend Charles Frohman, who was responsible for producing the debut of Peter Pan in both England and the U.S. and other productions of Barrie's plays, famously declined a lifeboat seat when the RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat in the North Atlantic, reportedly paraphrasing Peter Pan's famous line from the stage play, 'To die will be an awfully big adventure': "Why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure in life." [2]

He met and told stories to the young daughters of the Duke of York, who would become Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret.


Barrie became acquainted with actress Mary Ansell in 1891 when he asked his friend Jerome K. Jerome for a pretty actress to play a role in his play Walker, London. The two became friends, and she joined his family in caring for him when he fell very ill in 1893 and 1894.[4] They married in Kirriemuir on 9 July 1894,[9] shortly after Barrie recovered, and Mary retired from the stage; but the relationship was reportedly unconsummated [10] and the couple had no children. The marriage was a small ceremony in his parents' home in the Scottish tradition. In 1900 Mary found Black Lake Cottage, at Farnham, Surrey which became the couple's 'bolt hole' where Barrie could entertain his cricketing friends and the Llewelyn Davieses.[11] Beginning in mid 1908, Mary had an affair with Gilbert Cannan (an associate of Barrie's in his anti-censorship activities), including a visit together to Black Lake Cottage, known only to the house staff. When Barrie learned of the affair in July 1909, he demanded that she end it, but she refused. To avoid the scandal of divorce, he offered a legal separation if she would agree not to see Cannan any more, but she still refused. Barrie sued for divorce on the grounds of infidelity, which was granted in October 1909.[2]

Llewelyn Davies family

The Arthur Llewelyn Davies family played an important part in Barrie's literary and personal life. It consisted of the parents Arthur (1863–1907) and Sylvia (1866–1910) (daughter of George du Maurier),[12] ; and their five sons: George (1893–1915), John (Jack) (1894-1959), Peter (1897–1960), Michael (1900–1921), and Nicholas (Nico) (1903–1980).

Barrie became acquainted with the family in 1897, meeting George and Jack (and baby Peter) with their nurse (nanny) Mary Hodgson in London's Kensington Gardens. He lived nearby and often walked his Saint Bernard dog Porthos in the park,[13] and entertained the boys regularly with his ability to wiggle his ears and eyebrows, and with his stories. He did not meet Sylvia until a chance encounter at a dinner party in December. He became a regular visitor at the Davies household and a common companion to the woman and her boys, despite the fact that he and she were each married.[2] In 1901, he invited the Davies family to Black Lake Cottage, where he produced an album of captioned photographs of the boys acting out a pirate adventure, entitled The Boy Castaways of Black Lake Island. Barrie had two copies made, one of which he gave to Arthur, who misplaced it on a train.[14] The only surviving copy is held at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.[15]

Arthur Llewelyn Davies died in 1907, and 'Uncle Jim' became even more involved with the Davieses, providing financial support to them. (His income from Peter Pan and other works was easily adequate to provide for their living expenses and education.) Following Sylvia's death in 1910, Barrie claimed that they had been engaged to be married.[2] Her will indicated nothing to that effect, but specified her wish for 'J.M.B.' to be trustee and guardian to the boys, along with her mother Emma, her brother Guy Du Maurier, and Arthur's brother Compton. It expressed her confidence in Barrie as the boys' caretaker and her wish for 'the boys to treat him (& their uncles) with absolute confidence & straightforwardness & to talk to him about everything.' When copying the will informally for Sylvia's family a few months later, Barrie inserted himself elsewhere: Sylvia had written that she would like Mary Hodgson, the boys' nurse, to continue taking care of them, and for 'Jenny' (referring to Hodgson's sister) to come and help her; Barrie instead wrote 'Jimmy' (Sylvia's nickname for him). Barrie and Hodgson did not get along well, but they served as surrogate parents until the boys went to university and Jack was married.[2]

Barrie also had friendships with other children, both before he met the Davies boys and after they had grown up, and there has since been speculation that Barrie was a paedophile or that he engaged in child sexual abuse.[16][17] However, there is no direct evidence of any such conduct, nor that he was suspected of it at the time. Nico, the youngest of the brothers, flatly denied that Barrie ever behaved inappropriately.[2] 'I don't believe that Uncle Jim ever experienced what one might call "a stirring in the undergrowth" for anyone — man, woman, or child,' he stated. 'He was an innocent — which is why he could write Peter Pan.' [18] His relationships with the surviving Davies boys continued well beyond their childhood and adolescence.

The statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, erected in secret overnight for May Morning in 1912, was supposed to be modelled upon old photographs of Michael dressed as the character. However, the sculptor Sir George Frampton decided to use a different child as a model, leaving Barrie disappointed with the result. 'It doesn't show the devil in Peter,' he said.[2]

Barrie suffered bereavements with the boys, losing the two to whom he was closest in their early twenties. George was killed in action (1915) in World War I. Michael, with whom Barrie corresponded daily while at boarding school and university, drowned (1921) with his friend and possible lover[19] Rupert Buxton, at a known danger spot at Sandford Lock near Oxford, one month short of his 21st birthday. Some years after Barrie's death, Peter compiled his Morgue from family letters and papers, interpolated with his own informed comments in his family and their relationship with Barrie.


Barrie died of pneumonia on 19 June, 1937 and is buried at Kirriemuir next to his parents and two of his siblings. He left the bulk of his estate (excluding the Peter Pan works, which he had previously given to Great Ormond Street Hospital) to his secretary Cynthia Asquith. His birthplace at 4 Brechin Road is maintained as a museum by the National Trust for Scotland.


  • Barrie: the Story of a Genius by Sir J. A. Hammerton, 1929.
  • J. M. Barrie by W. A. Darlington, 1938.
  • The Story of J.M.B. by Denis Mackail, commissioned by Cynthia Asquith and Peter Llewelyn Davies as Barrie's authorised biography, and published in 1941.
  • The Story of J.M.B. by Sewell Stokes, Theatre Arts, Vol.XXV No.11, New York: Theatre Arts Inc, Nov 1941, pp 845–848.
  • J. M. Barrie: the Man Behind the Image by Janet Dunbar, 1970.
  • J. M. Barrie and the Lost Boys by Andrew Birkin, 1979 (revised and republished by Yale University Press, 2003).
  • Hide-and-Seek with Angels: A Life of J. M. Barrie by Lisa Chaney, 2005.
  • Captivated: J. M. Barrie, Daphne du Maurier & the Dark Side of Neverland by Piers Dudgeon, 2008. Published in the US under the title: Neverland: J.M. Barrie, the du Mauriers, and the Dark Side of Peter Pan.

In 1978 the BBC made a miniseries written by Andrew Birkin, The Lost Boys, starring Ian Holm as Barrie and Ann Bell as Sylvia. It dramatized the known chronology of events from his meeting of George and Jack in 1897, through Michael's death in 1921. Birkin's book expands on the film.

Finding Neverland, a semi-fictional movie about his relationship with the family, was released in November 2004, starring Johnny Depp as Barrie and Kate Winslet as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies. It takes liberties with the facts, alters the sequence of some events (e.g. Sylvia is already a widow when she meets Barrie), and omits Nico altogether.


Barrie was made a baronet in 1913; his baronetcy was not inherited. He was made a member of the Order of Merit in 1922. In 1919 he was elected Rector of the University of St Andrews for the next three years, and served as Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh from 1930 to 1937.

He has a school named after him in Wandsworth, South West London. The Barrie School in Silver Spring, Maryland, is also named in his honour.[20]


  • Auld Licht Idylls (1888)
  • Better Dead (1888)
  • A Window in Thrums (1889)
  • My Lady Nicotine (1890), republished in 1926 with subtitle A Study in Smoke
  • The Little Minister (1891)
  • Sentimental Tommy, The Story of His Boyhood (1896)
  • Margaret Ogilvy (1896)
  • Tommy and Grizel (1900)
  • Quality Street (1901)
  • The Admirable Crichton (1902)
  • The Little White Bird; or, Adventures in Kensington Gardens (1902)
  • Peter Pan (1904)
  • Pantaloon (1905)
  • Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1906)
  • What Every Woman Knows (1906)
  • When Wendy Grew Up - An Afterthought (1908)
  • Peter and Wendy (novel) (1911)
  • Dear Brutus (1917)
  • Echoes of the War (1918)
  • The Old Lady Shows Her Medals (1918), basis for the movie Seven Days Leave (1930), starring Gary Cooper
  • A New World (1918)
  • Barbara's Wedding (1918)
  • A Well-Remembered Voice (1918)
  • Alice Sit-By-The-Fire (1919)
  • Mary Rose (1920)
  • Farewell Miss Julie Logan (1932)
  • The Boy David (1936)
  • story treatment for film As You Like It (1936)
  • Stories by English Authors: London (selected by Scribners, as contributor)
  • Stories by English Authors: Scotland (selected by Scribners, as contributor)
  • The Young Visiters or, Mr. Salteena's Plan by Daisy Ashford (preface)


  1. ^ "History of the name Wendy". Wendy.com. http://www.wendy.com/wendyweb/history.html. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Birkin, Andrew: J. M. Barrie & the Lost Boys (Constable, 1979; revised edition, Yale University Press, 2003)
  3. ^ Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky (1994) ISBN 9780805073690
  4. ^ a b c d e f Chaney, Lisa. Hide-and-Seek with Angels — A Life of J. M. Barrie, London: Arrow Books, 2005
  5. ^ McConnachie and J.M.B.: Speeches of J. M. Barrie, Peter Davies, 1938
  6. ^ "Peter Pan project off the ground". BBC News Scotland. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/south_of_scotland/8188245.stm. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  7. ^ J. M. Barrie. "A Window in Thrums". Project Gutenberg. http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=20914. 
  8. ^ Dominic Shellard, et al. The Lord Chamberlain Regrets, 2004, British Library, p77-79.
  9. ^ "General Register Office for Scotland". Gro-scotland.gov.uk. http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/famrec/from-our-records/hallfame/art-and-literature.html. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  10. ^ Birkin, Andrew: J. M. Barrie & the Lost Boys (Constable, 1979; revised edition, Yale University Press, 2003)
  11. ^ "Surrey Monocle". Surrey Monocle. 2007-01-10. http://www.surreymonocle.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=33. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  12. ^ married the 3Q of 1892 in Hampstead, London: GROMI: vol. 1a, p. 1331
  13. ^ info about Porthos
  14. ^ Andrew Birkin on J. M. Barrie
  15. ^ J.M. Barrie's Boy Castaways at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University
  16. ^ Justine Picardie Published: 12:01AM BST 13 Jul 2008 (2008-07-13). "How bad was J.M. Barrie?". Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/donotmigrate/3556421/How-bad-was-J.M.-Barrie.html. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  17. ^ Parker, James (2004-02-22). "The real Peter Pan - The Boston Globe". Boston.com. http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2004/02/22/the_real_peter_pan/. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  18. ^ "J.M Barrie and Peter Pan — Winter 2005 Issue — Endicott Studio: Peter Pan 2". Endicott-studio.com. http://www.endicott-studio.com/rdrm/rrPeterPan2.html. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  19. ^ [http://www.jmbarrie.co.uk/audio/?mode=3
  20. ^ Carnival PR and Design. "The Barrie School". Barrie.org. http://www.barrie.org/. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
The Earl Haig
Rector of the University of St Andrews
1919 - 1922
Succeeded by
Rudyard Kipling
Preceded by
The Earl of Balfour
Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh
1930 – 1937
Succeeded by
The Lord Tweedsmuir
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New title Baronet
(of Adelphi Terrace)
1st creation
1913 - 1937


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?

Sir James Matthew Barrie (1860-05-091937-06-19) was a Scottish novelist and dramatist, more commonly known as J. M. Barrie. He is most famous as the author of the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up.



We never understand how little we need in this world until we know the loss of it.
  • The best of our fiction is by novelists who allow that it is as good as they can give, and the worst by novelists who maintain that they could do much better if only the public would let them.
    • The Contemporary Review (1891)
  • His lordship may compel us to be equal upstairs, but there will never be equality in the servants' hall.
  • I'm not young enough to know everything.
    • The Admirable Crichton, Act I (1903)
  • Oh, it's — it's a sort of bloom on a woman. If you have it, you don't need to have anything else; and if you don't have it, it doesn't much matter what else you have. Some women, the few, have charm for all; and most have charm for one. But some have charm for none.
  • There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make.
    • What Every Woman Knows, Act II
  • The tragedy of a man who has found himself out.
    • What Every Woman Knows, Act IV
  • One's religion is whatever he is most interested in, and yours is Success.
    • The Twelve-Pound Look (1910)
  • Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
    • As quoted in Christ's Second Coming Fulfilled (1917) by Marion Morris, p. 144

The Little Minister (1891)

  • The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.
    • Ch. 1
  • Your heart is as fresh as your face; and that is well. The useless men are those who never change with the years. Many views that I held to in my youth and long afterwards are a pain to me now, and I am carrying away from Thrums memories of errors into which I fell at every stage of my ministry. When you are older you will know that life is a long lesson in humility.
    • Ch. 3
  • If the young leddy was so careless o' insulting other folks' ancestors, it proves she has nane o' her ain; for them that has china plates themsel's is the maist careful no to break the china plates of others.
    • Ch. 26

Margaret Ogilvy (1897)

  • We never understand how little we need in this world until we know the loss of it.
    • Ch. 8
  • My mother's favourite paraphrase is one known in our house as David's because it was the last he learned to repeat. It was also the last thing she read —
    Art thou afraid his power shall fail When comes thy evil day? And can an all-creating arm Grow weary or decay?
    I heard her voice gain strength as she read it, I saw her timid face take courage, but when came my evil day, then at the dawning, alas for me, I was afraid.
    • Ch. 10
  • I had been gone a fortnight when the telegram was put into my hands. I had got a letter from my sister, a few hours before, saying that all was well at home. The telegram said in five words that she had died suddenly the previous night. There was no mention of my mother, and I was three days' journey from home.
    The news I got on reaching London was this: my mother did not understand that her daughter was dead, and they were waiting for me to tell her.
    • Ch. 10

The Little White Bird (1902)

It is frightfully difficult to know much about the fairies, and almost the only thing known for certain is that there are fairies wherever there are children.
This story contained the first published reference to "Peter Pan". After the success of the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up which premiered on 27 December 1904, the chapters involving Peter were published as Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1906).
  • Sometimes the little boy who calls me father brings me an invitation from his mother: "I shall be so pleased if you will come and see me," and I always reply in some such words as these: "Dear madam, I decline." And if David asks why I decline, I explain that it is because I have no desire to meet the woman.
    "Come this time, father," he urged lately, "for it is her birthday, and she is twenty-six," which is so great an age to David, that I think he fears she cannot last much longer.
    • Ch. 1
  • Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?
    • Often paraphrased as: Always be a little kinder than necessary.
    • Ch. 4
  • If you ask your mother whether she knew about Peter Pan when she was a little girl she will say, "Why, of course, I did, child," and if you ask her whether he rode on a goat in those days she will say, "What a foolish question to ask; certainly he did." Then if you ask your grandmother whether she knew about Peter Pan when she was a girl, she also says, "Why, of course, I did, child," but if you ask her whether he rode on a goat in those days, she says she never heard of his having a goat. Perhaps she has forgotten, just as she sometimes forgets your name and calls you Mildred, which is your mother's name. Still, she could hardly forget such an important thing as the goat. Therefore there was no goat when your grandmother was a little girl. This shows that, in telling the story of Peter Pan, to begin with the goat (as most people do) is as silly as to put on your jacket before your vest.
    Of course, it also shows that Peter is ever so old, but he is really always the same age, so that does not matter in the least.
    • Ch. 14
  • Every living thing was shunning him. Poor little Peter Pan, he sat down and cried, and even then he did not know that, for a bird, he was sitting on his wrong part. It is a blessing that he did not know, for otherwise he would have lost faith in his power to fly, and the moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it. The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply that they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.
    • Ch. 14
  • It is frightfully difficult to know much about the fairies, and almost the only thing known for certain is that there are fairies wherever there are children.
    • Ch. 16
  • When you were a bird you knew the fairies pretty well, and you remember a good deal about them in your babyhood, which it is a great pity you can't write down, for gradually you forget, and I have heard of children who declared that they had never once seen a fairy. Very likely if they said this in the Kensington Gardens, they were standing looking at a fairy all the time. The reason they were cheated was that she pretended to be something else. This is one of their best tricks.
    • Ch. 16
  • Wise children always choose a mother who was a shocking flirt in her maiden days, and so had several offers before she accepted their fortunate papa.
    • Ch. 22
  • "In twenty years," I said, smiling at her tears, "a man grows humble, Mary. I have stored within me a great fund of affection, with nobody to give it to, and I swear to you, on the word of a soldier, that if there is one of those ladies who can be got to care for me I shall be very proud." Despite her semblance of delight I knew that she was wondering at me, and I wondered at myself, but it was true.
    • Ch. 26

Peter Pan (1904)

All children, except one, grow up.
Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up (1904) These are just a few samples, for more quotes from this play, see Peter Pan
  • To die will be an awfully big adventure.
    • Act III
  • Do you believe in fairies?...If you believe, clap your hands!
    • Act IV

Peter & Wendy (1911)

Based upon the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up (1904) and often published simply as "Peter Pan" Full text online
  • All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, "Oh, why can't you remain like this for ever!" This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.
    • Ch. 1
  • Occasionally in her travels through her children's minds Mrs. Darling found things she could not understand, and of these quite the most perplexing was the word Peter. She knew of no Peter, and yet he was here and there in John and Michael's minds, while Wendy's began to be scrawled all over with him. The name stood out in bolder letters than any of the other words, and as Mrs. Darling gazed she felt that it had an oddly cocky appearance.
    "Yes, he is rather cocky," Wendy admitted with regret. Her mother had been questioning her.
    • Ch. 1
  • You see, Wendy, when the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.
    • Ch. 3
  • "There ought to be one fairy for every boy and girl."
    "Ought to be? Isn't there?"
    "No. You see children know such a lot now, they soon don't believe in fairies, and every time a child says, 'I don't believe in fairies,' there is a fairy somewhere that falls down dead."
    • Ch. 3
  • She said out of pity for him, "I shall give you a kiss if you like," but though he once knew, he had long forgotten what kisses are, and he replied, "Thank you," and held out his hand, thinking she had offered to put something into it. This was a great shock to her, but she felt she could not explain without shaming him, so with charming delicacy she gave Peter a thimble which happened to be in her pocket, and pretended that it was a kiss.
    • Ch. 6
  • Peter flung out his arms. There were no children there, and it was night time; but he addressed all who might be dreaming of the Neverland, and who were therefore nearer to him than you think: boys and girls in their nighties, and naked papooses in their baskets hung from trees.
    "Do you believe?" he cried.
    • Ch. 13
  • "If you believe," he shouted to them, "clap your hands; don't let Tink die."
    Many clapped.
    Some didn't.
    A few beasts hissed.
    The clapping stopped suddenly; as if countless mothers had rushed to their nurseries to see what on earth was happening; but already Tink was saved. First her voice grew strong, then she popped out of bed, then she was flashing through the room more merry and impudent than ever. She never thought of thanking those who believed, but she would have like to get at the ones who had hissed.
    • Ch. 13
  • When a new baby laughs for the first time a new fairy is born, and as there are always new babies there are always new fairies. They live in nests on the tops of trees; and the mauve ones are boys and the white ones are girls, and the blue ones are just little sillies who are not sure what they are.
    • Ch. 17
  • Michael believed longer than the other boys, though they jeered at him; so he was with Wendy when Peter came for her at the end of the first year. She flew away with Peter in the frock she had woven from leaves and berries in the Neverland, and her one fear was that he might notice how short it had become; but he never noticed, he had so much to say about himself.
    She had looked forward to thrilling talks with him about old times, but new adventures had crowded the old ones from his mind.
    • Ch. 17
  • "Why can't you fly now, mother?"
    "Because I am grown up, dearest. When people grow up they forget the way."
    "Why do they forget the way?"
    "Because they are no longer gay and innocent and heartless. It is only the gay and innocent and heartless who can fly."
    • Ch. 17
  • "I am old, Peter. I am ever so much more than twenty. I grew up long ago."
    "You promised not to!"
    "I couldn't help it. I am a married woman, Peter."
    • Ch. 17
  • As you look at Wendy, you may see her hair becoming white, and her figure little again, for all this happened long ago. Jane is now a common grown-up, with a daughter called Margaret; and every spring cleaning time, except when he forgets, Peter comes for Margaret and takes her to the Neverland, where she tells him stories about himself, to which he listens eagerly. When Margaret grows up she will have a daughter, who is to be Peter's mother in turn; and thus it will go on, so long as children are gay and innocent and heartless.
    • Ch. 17

Quotes about Barrie

  • It is my belief that Peter Pan is a great and refining and uplifting benefaction to this sordid and money-mad age; and the next best play is a long way behind.

External links

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Simple English

File:James Matthew
J. M. Barrie

Sir James Matthew Barrie (May 9, 1860 - June 19, 1937) was a Scottish-born writer. His most famous work was Peter Pan.

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