Autobiography, with Letters

By William Lyon Phelps | Go to book overview

59
J. M. BARRIE

EVEN as there are elective affinities between men and women, and great friendships between men (I imagine that monks in mediaeval monasteries had friendships compared to which our best college friendships are thin and pale) so there are authors who especially appeal to certain individuals. It requires no effort and no peculiarity of taste to enjoy Shakespeare; it requires oddity not to admire him, which dislike was one of the many eccentricities of Tolstoy. But there are certain authors who affect us so profoundly that we suffer physical pain when we hear them disparaged or ridiculed.

Before Elizabeth Barrett had even the remotest idea of ever meeting Robert Browning, she said that attacks on his poetry affected her like the lashing of a whip on her skin.

Of all modern British authors, I am the most deeply affected by J. M. Barrie. My own attitude toward his writings has always been quite different from my admiration for some of his contemporaries; I admire their works; but for the creations of Barrie I feel something deeper than admiration. He touches something in me that instantly responds.

Mon cœur est un luth suspendu:
Sitôt qu'on le touche, il résonne
.

I do not like to see the works of any authors misunderstood, misrepresented, undervalued; but when this hap

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