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Captivated: J. M. Barrie, Daphne Du Maurier and the Dark Side of Neverland: J.M. Barrie. Paperback – 4 Jun 2009

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Captivated: J. M. Barrie, Daphne Du Maurier and the Dark Side of Neverland: J.M. Barrie. + J.M.Barrie and the Lost Boys: The Real Story Behind Peter Pan + J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys [DVD]
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (4 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099520451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099520450
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 652,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Piers Dudgeon is the author of more than thirty works of non-fiction. He worked for ten years as an editor in London before starting his own company, Pilot Productions, publishing books with authors as diverse as John Fowles, Catherine Cookson, Peter Ackroyd, Daphne du Maurier, Shirley Conran and Ted Hughes. Subsequently he left London for Yorkshire, where he wrote a number of books evocative of the spirit of place, including "Dickens' London", "The Spirit of Britain: A Guide to Literary Britain" and "The Country Child"; a series of oral industrial histories, including "Glasgow", "Liverpool" and "London's East End"; the classic "Virgin Alternative Guide to British Universities", which still involves him in speaking to sixth-forms across the country, and many biographies, including those of Catherine Cookson, Barbara Taylor Bradford and Maeve Binchy, the composer Sir John Tavener, the thinker Edward de Bono, and the novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie. He is now also publishing a growing list of writers, including Angus Stewart and Giovanni Guareschi, and this year his latest biography, "The Real Peter Pan: The Tragic Life of Michael Llewelyn Davies", is published by The Robson Press in the UK and Thomas Dunne Books/St Martin's Press in New York. Piers Dudgeon is on Twitter: @Piersdudgeon

Product Description

Review

"Wonderfully batty...a rattling grisly read...I defy you not to be captivated" (Sunday Times)

"The pathology of the artist - the motivations, temperament, clashes between public and private behaviour - is the real subject of Dudgeon's meticulous and highly provocative study of three writers... Dudgeon knows what he's doing and builds his case with precision and coolness... A gripping read" (Scotsman)

"Dudgeon characterises [Barrie's] association with the Llewellyn Davies family... and with Daphne du Maurier, and her father, the actor Gerald, as the Kiss of Death and the embrace of mental illness. Barrie's shadow side, as a manipulative monster without conscience, is linked to the darker aspects of Rebecca, Peter Pan and Svengali, the hypnotic character created by Gerald" (The Times)

"He has written his literary biography, Captivated, from the heart...The subject matter is absorbing, disturbing and baffling in equal measure...offers a vivid picture of Barrie's and George Du Maurier's murky psychological environment, and in so doing proves a valuable addition to literary history" (Glasgow Herald)

"A fascinating account of the psychological web in which Barrie trapped the tragic du Maurier family" (David Lodge)

Review

`Meticulous and highly provocative... Dudgeon builds his case with precision and coolness...A gripping read.'

Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ironia on 3 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book was both interesting and irritating. The Du Maurier family had problems; whether Barrie added to them is a moot point. As a biographer, Dudgeon is entitled to speculate where there is good supporting evidence, but his clear dislike of Barrie, and his readiness to blame him for anything that goes wrong in the life of anyone to whom Barrie becomes close is frustrating. Too much Dudgeon and not enough J M Barrie: to whom he irritatingly refers to as 'Jim' throughout the book. Barrie may have been an undue influence on the children, but they had parents, and if the 'lost boys' mother was more entranced by Barrie than by her own husband, surely that is her responsibility, not Barrie's. The same is true of other adult relationships. Biographers need to stand back and take a somewhat ironic stance to the people they dissect.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kelly A19 on 10 July 2009
Format: Paperback
'Captivated' provides a deeply disturbing insight into the background of the story of Peter Pan. Dudgeon's book is a revelation in many ways and extremely thought-provoking.

However, I do have several criticisms: first, there is an awful lot of guesswork in this book. Dudgeon will admit to using supposition to reach a conclusion, but then will base facts on these suppositions. For example, he makes a tenuous claim that Jack Llewellyn Davies had depression due to his lung disease - this despite blaming JM Barrie for all possible mental health issues which impacted the rest of Jack's family.

Barrie is blamed for any and all disasters to befall the Davies and Du Maurier family - though he was clearly a strong and charismatic character, my feeling is that Dudgeon stretches the tales of Barrie's power too far at times.

This book obviously stems from very in-depth research: unfortunately this leads me to my greatest frustration with this book - the referencing. Dudgeon uses an incredibly irritating system whereby he lists each chapter's references separately so that, in order to check a reference, you first must check which section of the book you are in and which chapter you are reading - by then, you have forgotten the reference number so have to go back to the page you are reading - all of which severely interrupts the flow of your reading! Why not just number each reference continually?

Further, whilst some referencing is obsessive, there are many times when quotes appear with no reference whatsoever and with no hint to where they come from. This is not only unhelpful but it is also unprofessional and something the publisher should have picked up on. Further evidence of poor proof-reading is clear on page 206, where the wrong reference is given!
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By C. M. Gibbons on 9 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
Part psychological, part revelatory and part historical, Captivated offers a deep insight into the lives of J.M.Barrie and the Du Maurier family. Barrie was initially drawn to the author and illustrator George Du Maurier (1834-1896) who created the hypnotic Svengali character in his novel Trilby and explored the territory of the unconscious long before the arrival of psychoanalysis.

An obvious fan, Barrie subsequently weaved his way into the lives of Du Maurier's children namely Sylvia and Gerald (Daphne's father) themselves interesting characters in their own right. By penetrating the imagination of the more susceptible family members, especially the children, there is no doubt of Barrie's unhealthy influence. Dudgeon does a brilliant job of drawing us into the incredible sequence of events that consequently ensues.

In addition to this fascinating investigation Captivated also provides us with a cultural and social commentary of the day. The reader is given an opportunity to peek into the rich human and often disturbing experiences of the Du Maurier family, whilst in the background there is always the central character whose dark and questionable motives play a major part throughout.

This is a very well researched and totally absorbing book.
Highly recommended.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Quinn on 20 May 2010
Format: Paperback
How on earth does a book like this get published? The slightest knowledge of the Du Mauriers and Barrie rips to shreds the author's very premise for this book. More of a fantasy than Peter Pan itself. Suitable only for serializing in the Daily Sport. Whatever will Dudgeon's follow-up be? How John Lennon influenced the creation of the Third Reich?
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