Sir James M. Barrie is rated as the foremost English dramatist of the day; and his plays, taken together, make the most significant contribution to English drama since Sheridan. Practically his entire life has been given to the writing of novels and plays, many of the latter having their heroines conceived especially for Maude Adams, one of America's greatest actresses. He was born in Kirriemuir, Scotland, in 1860. He received his education at Dumfries and Edinburgh University. His first work in journalism and letters was done at Nottingham, but soon he took up his work in London, where he now resides.
Sir James M. Barrie's literary labors have been very fruitful. His The Professor's Love Story, The Little Minister, Quality Street, The Admirable Crichton, Peter Pan, What Every Woman Knows, and Alice Sit-by-the-Fire are well known to every one.
In 1914 there appeared a volume of one-act plays, Half Hours, the most important of which is The Twelve-Pound Look. And in 1918 appeared a volume, Echoes of the War, the most important one-act play therein being The Old Lady Shows Her Medals.
Barrie is a great playwright because he is so thoroughly human. All the little whimsicalities, sentiments, little loves, and heart-longings of human beings are ever present in his plays. He is no reformer, no propagandist. He appeals to the emotions rather than to the intellect. He continues the romantic tradition in English drama and gives us plays that are wholesome, tender, and human. And with all this, he has the added saving grace of a most absorbing humor.
While Barrie is not a devotee of the well-made play, his The Twelve-Pound Look is one of the most nearly perfect one-act plays of contemporary drama. His interest in human personalities is not more manifest in any of his plays than in Lady Sims and "Sir" Harry Sims in this play.