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Karpe, M. Karpe, R. (1957). The Meaning of Barrie's 'Mary Rose'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:408-411.

(1957). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 38:408-411

The Meaning of Barrie's 'Mary Rose'

Marietta Karpe, M.S. and Richard Karpe, M.D.

In the 18-year period from 1902 to 1920, James Matthew Barrie, best known as the creator of Peter Pan, wrote 20 plays, which fall into two basically different categories. Among them are pleasant, witty, and successful plays such as What Every Woman Knows, realistic both in their stories and in their characterization. On the other hand, there are a number of plays, obviously very dear to the author's heart, which are whimsical, magic and fantastic, such as Peter Pan, Dear Brutus, and Mary Rose. Barrie himself said that he wrote his magical plays with his left hand and his realistic plays with his right.

Mary Rose(3), the last of his successful plays, was first produced in 1920. Its story is a strange one, very puzzling not only to the audience and the actors, but even to the author himself. It is, in brief, as follows: a young married couple, Mary Rose and Simon, go on vacation to the Outer Hebrides, leaving their little son Harry behind with a nurse. While they are visiting a small island which is supposed to have magical powers, Mary Rose disappears without a trace, thus repeating an earlier disappearance at the age of 12, when she was on a fishing trip with her father and an intensive relationship developed between them. The first time she returned after 20 days, not realizing that she had been away, and her family never discussed the incident with her. The second time, she returns unexpectedly 25 years later, unchanged in appearance and unaware of her long absence.

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