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Q & A with Andrew Birkin: Question #2

Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2004 8:35 am
by DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
As you read Mr. Birkin’s responses to our questions, please keep in mind that his answers are intended solely for the purpose of our readers. Please do not use his replies or take any quotes from them for any other purpose or post them on any other boards or websites. That was his only caveat when he agreed to participate, that our answers be kept “in house”. I know you all will honor his request!

2. Was there material he wishes he could have included in the book but was prevented because of the length restriction?

AB: I had to cut about 10 per cent from my original manuscript, which still exists in galley form somewhere. When Yale proposed republishing the book, they offered me the chance of reinstating some of this material. But sicne one of my favourite maxims (I forget who said it, someone like James Joyce) has always been "if I'd had longer, I would have written it shorter", I decided to leave the book more or less as it was, and to post all the additional material on the Barrie website. Perhaps one day I will dig out those old galleys and reinstate some of the cut sequences in an online version of the book, but a second volume is really beyond my sphere, since it would necessarily involve Cynthia Asquith and her relationship with Barrie. Janet Dunbar covered this with some success in her 1970 biography "J M Barrie: The Man Behind the Image", but I have always felt that the Barrie/Asquith story was somewhat of an anti-climax - a tarnished rerun of his entangelment with the Llewelyn Davieses.

Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2004 9:25 pm
by nebraska
Guess I will have to spend some time at the Birkin website! The whole Cynthia episode seemed glossed over so quickly in the book and I know there had to be a lot more to it. That was one of the things that disturbed me the most about the book, actually, that Cynthia appeared to come between Barrie and the boys at the end, but we learned very little about that part of the story.

I am still hoping some day to read Peter's Morgue.

Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2004 9:31 pm
by DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Peter's Morgue is being posted on the website as Birkin has time and the correspondence is fascinating. There is a letter to Birkin where Nico discusses what happened with Cynthia Asquith literally at the time of Barrie's death. Very sad and I can see why Brikin did not want to revisit the event in his book.