Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Dear Brutus: J.M. Barrie

Just suppose you had a second chance in life, married X instead of Y, took job A instead of job B: would your life really turn out so differently? Would you have become a better person?

In Lob's midsummer wood a bunch of jaded middle-aged persons get the chance to go down the roads they didn't take- and experience what might have been. Dear Brutus is an unfamiliar play, so I'm not going to spoil it for you. Read it and find out what happens for yourselves. There is satire, there is social comedy, there is magic: if your scalp doesn't prickle and your eye fill with tears you're made of sterner stuff than I am. 

Up until now I had always stepped around Barrie. Carefully, fastidiously. I thought he had been found out and debunked- and one was absolved from reading him. You can see that attitude in what I wrote about Peter Pan a few days ago. I treated Barrie as belonging more to psychopathology than literature- a sentimentalist who got lucky just the one time-  when the creatures of his subconscious muscled their way through the spun-sugar artifice and briefly took charge. I take it all back. He was a genius. I have now read four plays and a novel and all of them are wonderful.  
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