J M Barrie and the Ballets Russes

Olga Sobolev


Barrie’s playlet The Truth about the Russian Dancers (written as a direct response to the impact upon British cultural life of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes) has been hardly discussed in the literary scholarship dedicated to his writings. By placing the playlet in the social and political context of the age, as well as focusing on close analysis of the textual variants of the manuscript, the paper discusses Barrie’s exploration of the impressionistic notion of the unfamiliar and the exotic. It is shown that as a searching piece of dramatic criticism, the work provides a penetrating reflection on cultural dialogism produced within the framework of a modernist, rather than Edwardian platform, and thus puts into new perspective certain aspects of the British perception of what was notoriously categorised as the Russian myth.

Keywords: Dramatic Criticism, Modernism, Cultural Dialogism, Russian Myth 

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