Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Boreham and His Literary Models Part 12: J M Barrie

This posting is part of a series on F W Boreham and the authors who influenced his literary style. This article is about the influence of the author, J M Barrie (1860-1937).[1]

It may have been Boreham’s immersion in the Scottish province of Otago that led to his acquaintance with a variety of Scottish writers who left their mark on his writing style. Among these was James Matthew Barrie whom Boreham described, with his characteristic use of superlatives, as “the most distinctive, most outstanding and most lovable figure of his time”.[2]

Perhaps it was Barrie’s popularity in immortalising obscure Kirriemuir and projecting himself in the “impish McConnachie” that led Boreham to write his essays about country town Mosgiel and project another side of his personality into the character of John Broadbanks.[3]

Like Boreham, temperamentally “shy and sensitive”, Barrie’s great gift was “the ability to invent and tell a good story”.[4] Boreham alluded to the virtues of restraint and anonymity which were most evident in his editorials when he said of Barrie, “There is a sense in which he never speaks of himself: there is a sense in which he puts himself into every word that he utters. Therein lies his charm”.[5]

Geoff Pound

Image: J M Barrie

[1] Sir James Matthew Barrie was a Scots dramatist, now famous for his creation of Peter Pan (1904) and his play, The admirable Creighton (1902). More information on J M Barrie can be found in the Bloomsbury guide to English literature, 340-341.
[2] Boreham, Mercury, 9 May 1942.
[3] Boreham, Mercury, 9 May 1942.
[4] James A Roy, James Matthew Barrie: An appreciation (London: Jarrolds Publishers, 1937), 48.
[5] Boreham, Mercury, 9 May 1942.