Beyond the Brownings– J.M. (James Matthew) Barrie (1860-1937)

 NPG x228; J.M. Barrie by George Charles Beresford© National Portrait Gallery, London

 Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

J.M. Barrie, a Scottish author and dramatist, is best known today as the author of Peter Pan. The ABL owns two letters from Barrie and four books, including a copy of a book owned by Sarianna Browning, a biography of Barrie’s mother’s life, Margaret Ogilvy (1896). The library also owns a rare book entitled The New Amphion (1886).

Barrie-to-Thompson-1webBarrie-to-Thompson-2webBarrie-to-Thompson-3webLetter from Sir J. M. Barrie to [Theodora] Thompson. 13 May 1905.

This letter allows Miss Theodora Thompson to include J. M. Barrie’s quotations in her book, Underneath the Bough: A Posie of Other Men’s Writings ([1905]). Quotations from Barrie occur on pages 167, 181, 247, 250, and 277. The volume also contains quotations from Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning.

The-New-Amphion-1 The-New-Amphion-2The-New-Amphion-3The-New-Amphion-4Amphion-Barrie

University of Edinburgh. The New Amphion; Being the Book of the Edinburgh University Union Fancy Fair, in Which Are Contained Sundry artistick, Instructive, and Diverting Matters, All Now Made Publick for the First Time. Edinburgh: Imprinted at the University press by T. & A. Constable, 1886.

The New Amphion, which also contained an epistolary farce written by J. M. Barrie, entitled “The Scotch Student’s Dream,” also contained the first appearance of Robert Browning’s “Spring Song.” The New Amphion, an anthology contributed to by authors including Robert Browning, Andrew Lang, Margaret Oliphant, and Robert Louis Stevenson, was published as a student fundraising campaign at the University of Edinburgh. Proceeds from the sale helped to fund Teviot Row House, the oldest purpose-built student union in the world.

Barrie-Margaret-Ogilvy-1Barrie-Margaret-Ogilvy-2Barrie, J. M. Margaret Ogilvy. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1896.

This volume is a biographical account of his mother’s life. She was distraught by the death of her son, Barrie’s older brother, and was comforted by believing her dead son would remain a boy forever, never to grow up and leave her, which became the premise for Barrie’s Peter Pan. Sarianna Browning, Robert’s sister owned a copy of this book that is the same edition as this.

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