Tag: Reveal

Lost letters reveal JM Barrie said ‘I love you’ to Robert Louis Stevenson

Lost letters reveal JM Barrie said 'I love you' to Robert Louis Stevenson

J.M. Barrie writing letters to his great friend Robert Louis Stevenson at his desk in Adelphi Terrace House. (Sotheby’s via Getty Images)

Never-seen-before letters reveal JM Barrie telling Robert Louis Stevenson “I have discovered that I love you” – and the only possible explanation is that they were “the greatest of friends”.

It’s the first time that the letters from Peter Pan author Barrie to Stevenson have been read, after they were discovered in a dusty box of letters in an archive at Yale University.

The pair started writing to each other in 1892; they were both Scottish, but Stevenson, who was older and had already published Treasure Island when they began talking, lived on the island of Samoa to improve his health.

A year into their friendship, Barrie wrote to him: “To be blunt I have discovered (have suspected it for some time) that I love you, and if you had been a woman…” The rest of the sentence is unfinished.

After Stevenson died in 1894, his letters to JM Barrie were published. But Barrie’s side of the correspondence has been lost for more than a century. His letters, some of which run to 3,000 words long, include a declaration of love, wishing that he would meet Stevenson (the two never did meet), and fantasising that the pair were actually distantly related in order to open up to Stevenson about his close relationship with his mother.

Sounds to us exactly like the letters two heterosexual men would write to each other. Dr Michael Shaw, the University of Stirling lecturer who discovered the new letters and will soon publish a book about them called A Friendship in Letters, told the Observer that the friendship between Barrie and Stevenson had inspired Peter Pan.

“What’s revealed in these letters – and it took me a while to discover the full extent of this – is the influence that both Stevenson and the correspondence have on Barrie,” said Shaw. “In reading over Barrie’s works, I started to see allusions to the letters and to Stevenson that I hadn’t noticed before.

“He’s incorporating aspects of the correspondence into his own works, into his poetry and novels, and their friendship is also inspiring his works.

“I think what JM Barrie is saying is: if I can never meet Stevenson, because he has unfortunately died, then I want to create the opportunity for our characters to meet.

“I think he liked that idea that they could occupy the same world, and could potentially bump into each other.”

While we will never know what Barrie’s intentions were, with the declarations of love and everything, gay Twitter did not hesitate to recognise the queer yearning nor claim the literary pair as a historical gay romance.

“Victorian male author writer to Victoria male author ‘I want to fuck you’ (in Victorian),” one Twitter user wrote. “‘Deep respect’ is one way of putting it, I suppose.”

“Let people be queer,” another added.

It is not the first time that LGBT+ history has been erased from under our noses.

Last year, two ancient Roman skeletons that had been buried holding hands and were nicknamed the “Lovers of Modena’” were downgraded to “siblings or cousins or soldiers who died together in battle” once archaeologists discovered that both the skeletons were men.

And scientists were baffled again last year, when they realised there was a “female” skeleton in a historically all-male monastic republic in Greece.

Researchers were stumped. How could a “female” have gotten into the byzantine chapel?

Yet again, it took a number of Twitter users to point out that trans people have existed throughout history and the possibility that the person was trans should not be crossed out.

Sunday Funday Will Not Be Throwing a Gender Reveal for Miss Major’s Baby!

Sunday Funday Will Not Be Throwing a Gender Reveal for

Happy Sunday friends! This week I watched too much Grey’s Anatomy and fucked up my challah watching Izzie be Izzie. I also made my first ever actual sourdough loaf (she’s perfect), went to my first Selichot service, and stress bought eight fancy candles. Just an average week during a global pandemic. I made apple sauce, raspberry jam, and strawberry jam because for two perfect days, it was 68º in Austin, TX. In September! I’m starting to think the universe is not conspiring against me!

I’m gonna ride this high and focus on good news!


+ Are you still keeping up your sourdough starter? Gail (my starter) is doing well, and I hate throwing away her daughters, so here’s a recipe for strawberry and pecan scones to use up your sourdough daughters.

+ These queer women are making space for themselves in ballet.

+ Lucy Worsley is a straight white lady in the UK who stays in her lane and makes really cute documentaries about historic things. Fall in love with her newest one while you’re pretending time still matters.

+ Wynne Nowland came out as trans and it “stirred surprise, support and new challenges at the company she runs”

+ 19 Black families bought almost 100 acres of land in Georgia to create a safe space for Black families.

+ Miss Major and Beck are having a baby, and they will not be revealing the baby’s sex! Hooray and Hallelujah indeed!!

+ Sohla El-Waylly cooks three recipes that define her life.

+ San Jose’s Post Street is the city’s first LGBTQ+ district.

+ The Transgender First National Scholarship is the first of its kind for trans students.

+ A snake laid 7 eggs, even though she hasn’t been around a male snake in years. Good for her! Also, isn’t this the plot of Jurassic Park???

+ The film Tahara puts a Black queer Jewish teen at the center of it while she navigates her grief. 

+ Inside Lena Waithe and Rishi Rajani’s Los Angeles office with Architectural Digest


And that, my friends, is all the good news fit to print. I’m off to go pay too much money to have a doctor look at my arm, which I lost 180º of motion in over a month ago. I love the medical industrial complex! Then tonight I’m gonna put on a robe and Auntie it out to the Gladys Knight and Patti Labelle Verzuz battle, then watch a Brandi Carlile concert, and convince my girlfriend to watch Cabaret with me.

This week will be good. I will be happy. I will be provided for. I will take care of my community, and they will take care of me. We got this! Have an amazing week, I love you, I’ll see you soon.

Ari

Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.

Ari has written 320 articles for us.