JMBarrie > Database



Is there a possibility to view whole (transcribed) notebook pages? I am only able to view snippets and these snippets are only available via the search function. The search function itself is not very helpful, e. g. I cannot find the transcriptions of the fairy notes which (according to "Peter Pan" edited by Anne Hiebert-Alton) should be available on this site.

Hi. I'm sorry that you are experiencing difficulties searching and viewing material on the database. The whole website is hopefully going to be updated and made easier to manoeuvre in the near future but it might take some time since the administrators can only do this in their spare time (of which they have little). In the meantime, the Beinecke Library might be able to help.

Is there any news about the transcriptions of the "Fairy" notes in the web archives?
Im from Spain and its impossible to go to the Beinecke Library to consult the notes.

Thank you.

I have now, finally (!) begun uploading my transcriptions of all Barrie's notebooks: the first 9 are already in the database - just search for "notebook" ...

In my opinion, Barrie's notebooks not only exhibit shafts of brilliant writing, but are a real insight into the deeper recesses of his mind. When he died in 1937, they were acquired by Cynthia Asquith, who loaned them to Denis Mackail in 1940/41 for his "official" biography; but Mackail struggled to decipher JMB's scrawl and made little use of them. Cynthia auctioned them in the 1950s and they were picked up by Walter Beinecke Jnr, who was looking for a suitable object for collection and determined on Barrie.

When researching her 1970 biography, Janet Dunbar (who was incredibly generous and helpful to me) visited the Beinecke Library at Yale and spent a couple of days trying to make head or tail of JMB's handwriting, but (according to her) more or less gave up the struggle.

I had a hunch that these notebooks might not only provide a key, but also a dramatic device. I therefore persuaded the BBC to shell out and have all the notebooks microfilmed. I then spent several months closeted away with a microfilm viewer, gradually deciphering JMB's hieroglyphics. At that time I was only focusing on the television trilogy and hadn't yet contemplated writing a biography. I therefore only jotted down those notes that I felt might come in useful for the TV; unfortunately when later I decided to write a biography, my time-frame was so short that I never had the time to go back over the original notebooks.

The notes that I am gradually uploading are therefore only my selected notes ... there may well be gems still lurking in the great reservoir that remains untranscribed.  I started with notebook #6, initially rationing myself to one or two quotes - the ones that might come in useful for the TV - but in the end I became so captivated that I typed up 5,774 of them! Barrie never kept a diary or journal. He didn't really need to - it's all in his notebooks ...

Each note is preceded by two numbers. The first is my note number: 6/3 = the 3rd note from notebook #6. The second is Barrie's number, which often gets rather complex as he would occasionally renumber them at a later date.  Mine are miore or less consecutive; JMB's often exhibit big jumps, being an indication as to how many intervening notes I failed to transcribe ...

I had a certain reluctance in uploading my transcriptions as several writers - Lisa Cheney comes to mind - ripped them off without crediting either my book or this website as the source. But now I no longer care, although if anyone wishes to take advantage of them, I'd be grateful if they were to at least acknowledge this website.


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