Women in the life and works of J.M. Barrie
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This thesis is a study of J. M. Barrie's relationships with women in his life and his portrayal of them in his works. For this purpose the women concerned are divided into the following categories: Mothers; Romantic Heroines and Actresses; Wives; Spinsters and Independent Women; Servants; and Ladies of Title. Barrie's life spans the years 1860-1937, covering forty years of Queen Victoria's reign; the reigns of Edward VII and George V; the First World War and the abdication of Edward VIII. The changing position of women in society and the shifts in Barrie's own attitudes towards them throughout this period, as reflected in his experiences and in his writings, are described. Particular attention has been given to the following women who played major roles in Barrie's life: Margaret Ogilvy, Barrie's mother, who was the predominant influence until her death in 1895; Mary Ansell, who was Barrie's wife from 1894 until their divorce in 1909; Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, wife of Arthur Llewelyn Davies, whom Barrie worshipped as the epitome of motherhood from 1898 until her death in 1910; and Lady Cynthia Asquith, who was Barrie's secretary from 1918 until 1937. Barrie's emotional history and attitudes to women are traced concurrently with a study of the development of his career from journalist through novelist to dramatist and public speaker, and of his social progress from the simple life of his childhood in Kirriemuir to his eminence in artistic, political and aristocratic circles at the time of his death in London in 1937. This study is also intended to establish that, although, by modern standards, Barrie is not a major figure in the world of letters, he made an idiosyncratic contribution to it.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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