Kirriemuir has hosted the UK launch of a new book about J. M. Barrie’s early literary career that aims to debunk long-standing myths about the author.
Professor Ronnie Jack’s Myths And The Mythmaker: A Literary Account Of J.M. Barrie’s Formative Years went on sale in Angus Fine Arts Gallery, High Street, Kirriemuir, last weekend.
Prof Jack, Emeritus Professor of Scottish and Medieval Literature and one of the Barrie experts who came to the town in May for the 150th anniversary of Barrie’s birth, spoke briefly about the book and signed copies as requested.
Barrie’s reputation suffered throughout the 20th century due to limited critical views of him as a sentimental “kailyard” writer, a minor playwright and a “Peter Pan” figure fixated on his mother and the early death of his brother.
Prof Jack challenges these myths through an examination of the various literary routes that led to Peter Pan.
From Barrie’s student notes to his newspaper articles and early plays, Prof Jack reveals how the author’s route to fame was carved out in these early “apprentice” years.
This apprenticeship, he feels, ultimately led Barrie to find his metier in drama, enabling him to write plays that ranked with the genius of Wilde and Shaw.
Myths And The Mythmaker will be available from the publishers Rodopi at the discount price of £43 until March 25.