J.M. Barrie's Gothic: Ghosts, fairy tales and lost children

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In his obituary of J. M. Barrie, George Bernard Shaw called his plays ‘terrifying’. Although Peter Pan (first performed in 1904) had long become a cherished children’s fantasy and a staple of Christmas theatricals, Shaw seemed more perturbed than enchanted by it (1993: 151). Barrie is seldom described as a Gothic writer, although his own well-known and often reductively understood biography has been ‘Gothicised’ into a dark psycho-narrative. Rather than use the latter to suggest Barrie’s election to the Scottish Gothic canon, this chapter takes its cue from recent work by R. D. S. Jack (2010), Valentina Bold and Andrew Nash (2014) and others, who demonstrate how Barrie is a writer of complexity and contradiction. The generic and thematic range of Barrie’s writing means that he is not a consistent or fully fledged Gothic writer but nevertheless Gothicism still inks a recurrent pattern of motifs and ideas in his work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScottish Gothic
Subtitle of host publicationAn Edinburgh Companion
EditorsCarol Margaret Davison, Monica Germanà
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781474408219, 9781474408202
ISBN (Print)9781474408196, 9781474437714
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

Publication series

NameEdinburgh Companions to the Gothic
PublisherEdinburgh University Press


  • J. M. Barrie
  • Gothic
  • Scottish
  • ghosts
  • Peter Pan


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