Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Barrie in Love V

Barrie in Love V

One of the most bizarre nightmare images stirred in Barrie’s imagination is the idea of Peter Pan—Peter himself as juvenile delinquent and jailbait.

Peter is at once too human, and yet quite inhuman. He is reasonable, even rather charming, and at the same time deathly—a "mud-child," a creature of the underworld.

His name suggests that of Loki, the Norse god of discord and mischief, the very principle of dissolution.

The pagan god Pan—a repulsive and fascinating character, described by Barrie as a gnome, a bat, a rabbit, a troll, a chatterer, a magpie, a maker of disturbing jokes.

But behind Pan is J. M. Barrie. The blank look of cynical misery behind all his buffoonery. That he is an artist, and a homosexual as well, isn’t just an accident that doesn’t have anything to do with Pan.

Peter Pan is Barrie's imagination—his diabolic alter ego who rises up to mock all that Barrie takes the straight world to be.

Hence Barry’s uncanny power, his parodistic talent: he accepts the hypothesis that play has replaced religion and he accepts his role as playwright in terms of decadence, without sentimental qualms.

Plays should interpret straights; the gay artist fulfills himself in acquiescence to the facade. Is there nothing apart from plays? And he says without hesitation, "Nothing but plays!"

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