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Messages - Rosalind Ridley

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JMBarrie / Why does Barrie refer to specific books in many of his works?
« on: September 29, 2017, 09:35:38 AM »
J M Barrie often appears on his own works, some of which are overtly autobiographical, while in other works he is present as the narrator. But parts of his personality can also be seen in other characters e.g. Peter can be seen as Barrie’s fantasy of himself as a child. Several well-known books are mentioned in Barrie’s work and they are often not an essential part of the plot, suggesting that the books are there for some other reason. Captain Hook is described and having a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus, one of Barrie’s favourite works; Chrichton has the only book on the Island – a poetry book by W. E. Henley, where Henley was Barrie’s good friend; and, in Auld Licht Idylls, one man sheltering in a bothy has a copy of one of Darwin’s books, where I would argue that many post-Darwinian themes about human nature appear in Barrie’s books. Does Barrie sometimes indicate that a particular fictional character is, in fact, himself by making him the only character with a book? Can anyone think of other books that act as ‘badges’ indicating that the character is a personification of the author?
JMBarrie / Peter Pan and the Mind of J M Barrie
« on: March 01, 2017, 08:17:08 PM »
I am pleased to say that my book 'Peter Pan and the Mind of J M Barrie' has been chosen as  'Book of the Month' by the publisher Cambridge Scholars who are offering a 60% discount on the price of the book for the month of March 2017 via this link
Davies Family / Re: Jack's death
« on: October 13, 2016, 03:26:16 PM »
Emphysema is not inherited. It is caused by heavy, persistent pollution of the air entering the lungs, usually by long term smoking.
Peter Pan / Re: Is Peter Pan based on Peter the Wild Boy?
« on: September 13, 2016, 07:41:41 PM »
It is possible that Barrie saw the portrait of Peter the Wild Boy that hangs in Kensington Palace. The Palace was first opened to the public on occasional days from 1899 onwards. The Gardens had been open for sometime. Peter Pan was 'conceived' around 1900 and Barrie was living near and frequently visiting Kensington Gardens at the time. Thomas Tickell wrote a poem 'Kensington Gardens' in 1722 in which fairies appear.
Peter Pan / Re: Is Peter Pan based on Peter the Wild Boy?
« on: September 13, 2016, 09:02:53 AM »
I think it is established that the name Peter derives from Peter Llewelyn Davies. But Pan refers to the greek god Pan, who represents the natural world as opposed to the world of culture and civilisation. Barrie’s texts are suffused with comparisons and questions about how much of human behaviour is instinctive and how much has to be learnt which was a major obsession of post-Darwinian biology. I discuss this in my book ‘Peter Pan and the Mind of J. M. Barrie’. Peter, the betwixt-and-between, represents the natural freedom of childhood before the constraints of adulthood take hold. Various ‘wild-boys’ were examined medically in the late nineteenth century in an attempt to examine Man’s natural instincts without culture and the subject was much discussed amongst the intelligentsia of the time. Barrie would probably have known about this. Modern examination of drawings, descriptions and bones suggest that at least some of the children may have been expelled from their family and village because they were mentally or physically disabled, giving a false impression of the advantages of enculturation. So in answer to your question, I think Peter Pan is not based directly on Peter the Wild Boy, but the subject matter is related.   
JMBarrie / Re: What Did Barrie Think Of AA Milne ?
« on: September 08, 2016, 11:24:37 AM »
Barrie liked, encouraged and supported A A Milne which A A Milne was very happy about. I don't know about Barrie's views of Winnie the Pooh but you can find several references to their friendship in 'A A Milne, the man behind Winnie the Pooh" by Ann Thwaite, Random House 1990. They also shared the view that childhood experiences were fundamentally different from the experiences of adulthood (see 'Peter Pan and the Mind of J M Barrie, An Exploration of Cognition and Consciousness' Ros Ridley 2016). 'Childhood is not the happiest time of one's life, but only to a child is pure happiness possible.' A A Milne 1939 'It's too late now.' Methuen     
JMBarrie / Re: Night Terrors
« on: July 11, 2016, 07:42:15 PM »
The Peter Pan stories contain many descriptions of parasomnias – unusual experiences associated with sleep. These include lucid dreams (including, of course, dreaming of flying) sleep paralysis (being unable to move on waking), hypnagogic hallucinations (weird experiences when falling asleep) and cataplexy (falling down as if asleep during the daytime). These are neurological (rather than psychiatric) peculiarities although poor sleep associated with psychological stress may make these occurrences more frequent. Most of these conditions were not identified clinically until after Barrie’s death so it is more than likely that Barrie knew about them because he experienced them himself. He always complained of poor sleep. Barrie clearly regarded these experiences as important and says of Peter’s dreams ‘They had to do, I think, with the riddle of his existence’ (Peter and Wendy). Michael Llewelyn Davies suffered from night terrors and sleep walking (both parasomnias) and this may have contributed to Barrie’s empathy with Michael. (Michael was ‘the one’). The parasomnias described by Barrie are explained in detail in ‘Peter Pan and the Mind of J.M Barrie. An Exploration of Cognition and Consciousness’  ISBN 978-1-4438-9107-3
New to / The Science Behind Peter Pan
« on: July 08, 2016, 07:29:20 PM »
Hi, I’m new to this forum but it looks wonderful. I am a retired neuropsychologist specialising in cognition – the structure and mechanisms of the way we think. I came across Barrie’s texts by chance and was amazed to discover that he was aware of many cognitive aspects of child development that were not ‘discovered’ by science until the second half of the twentieth century. This is an astonishing achievement. It seems to me that, like many of his contemporaries, Barrie was deeply influenced by Darwin’s theory of evolution. He was very interested in the extent to which human behaviour was instinctive. He was also interested in aspects of consciousness in humans and animals. This is an area of study that has only become of interest to scientists in the last few decades. Barrie appears to have been influenced by the psychological theories of William James (Henry James’s brother). I believe that Barrie’s books ‘Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens’ and ‘Peter and Wendy’ are comparable in terms of scientific insights to Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and Charles Kingsley’s ‘The Water Babies’. I have analyzed the science in Barrie’s Peter Pan stories and presented them in a book ‘Peter Pan and the Mind of J.M Barrie. An Exploration of Cognition and Consciousness’ published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4438-9107-3.

See first chapter
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