Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Barrie in Love VII

Barrie in Love VII

Surely not accidental is the fact that Barrie is a writer. He expresses a view of writing that all writers share, to some extent, despite their protestations to the contrary.

It is Flaubert speaking in Barrie, declaring art supreme and the artist's life of little consequence; when Barrie claims that his statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Park is nothing more than a statue.

A statue without relation to anything outside itself—which echoes Flaubert's contention that there is no such thing as a subject, there is only style.

"What seems beautiful to me, what I should like to write," Flaubert said, "is a book about nothing, a book dependent on nothing external.”

Barrie declares his plays and novels are nothing, "absolutely nothing," with no connection between his art and the everyday world.

A Pan statue and the real world are two different and distinct planes of existence, and one must not confuse them.

It’s a disdainful proclamation of an art that refers only to itself, speaking for the aesthetes of the nineteenth century which Barrie defined himself by.

Barrie thought that bourgeois civilization was bankrupt, that the mass of human beings was hopelessly ignorant and contemptible.

Barrie didn’t want to align himself with any extreme rejection of "ordinary" life and of nature itself. Too unbridled a revulsion against the world would lead one to the sinister self-indulgent fantasies of certain of the decadent poets and artists.

Queers like the bizarre Oscar Wilde and Huysmans and Baudelaire, and of Gustave Moreau and Odilon Redon and Jan Toorop among others.

Peter Pan’s almost supernatural presence drives everybody away, and brings to the surface the destructive elements in the love of Barrie for the Davies boys.

The Lost Boys need to be saved, according to Miss Barrie. After all, she’s an artist of decay. Her effect on the Davies boys is like that of a subtle poison.

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