Gateway to the Modern: Resituating J. M. Barrie

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J. M. Barrie (1860 - 1937) is today known almost exclusively for one work: Peter Pan. Yet he was the most successful British playwright of the early twentieth century, and his novels were once thought equal to those of George Meredith and Thomas Hardy. Although in recent years there has been a revival of interest in Barrie's writing, many critics still fail to include him in surveys of fin de siecle literature or drama. Perhaps Barrie's remarkable variety of output has prevented him from being taken to the centre of critical discussions in any one area of literary criticism or history. Is Barrie predominantly a novelist or a playwright? Is he Victorian, Decadent, Edwardian or Modernist? Gateway to the Modern is the very first collection of essays on Barrie which attempts to do justice to the extraordinary range of his literary achievement. What emerges is a significant writer, fully immersed in the literary and intellectual culture of his day.