Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Barrie in Love XI

Barrie in Love XI

Miss Barrie sat at her desk, contemplating the world. Surely the destiny of life seemed more fierce and compulsive to him now, ever since his rendezvous with death.

The man who has died asks himself this final question: From what, and to what, could this infinite whirl be saved? Is it worth writing about like I did with Peter Pan?

The mystic pagan certitude of Peter Pan surely belongs to a consciousness that has transcended the dualisms of tragedy. The split has not been healed, it has simply been transcended.

After losing the Davies boys, Barrie turns instinctively to the allegorical mode, the most primitive and the most sophisticated of all visionary expressions. 

Peter Pan, by contrast, irresolute and contradictory—it offered only the finite, tentative "resurrection" of marriage between two very incomplete beings. Man and boy—manhood and boyhood.

But now Miss Barrie must fashion her life in a distinctly unmythic, unidyllic landscape. His fate no longer centers on the statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Park. Or the play or the book.

How was Barrie to escape history?—defy the death-process of our culture? With difficulty. In sorrow. So long as we live, even strengthened as we are by the "mystic conjunction," the "ultimate unison" between boy and man.

Barrie’s life tempered by the ungovernable contingencies of the world that is no metaphor—but  our only home.

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