Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Loam House

Loam House. Home of the earl of Loam in London’s Mayfair district—one of the most expensive districts of London, where the cream of the English aristocracy maintained their town houses in the days before World War I. Loam House, like its eponymous owner, is apparently not of the highest rank. It contains several reception rooms of varying quality, some of which are to be “lent for charitable purposes,” while those reserved for private use are lavishly furnished. Act 1 takes place in the most luxurious of the rooms, which is lavishly equipped with a carpet, couches, and cushions. Its walls are decorated with paintings by well-known artists. A thousand roses are distributed in basins, while shelves and tables contain library novels, illustrated newspapers and, as the play opens, all the paraphernalia required for the serving and consumption of that hallowed English tradition, high tea.

By the time this room reappears in act 4, its decor has changed considerably. Various animal skins, stuffed birds, and the weapons used to kill them have replaced the paintings, and other items have been replaced by mementos of Crichton’s castaway experience. The tale tacitly told by these exhibits is, however, transparently false. Labels attached to the trophies on the walls emphasize the fact that all Crichton’s achievements have been rudely appropriated by the aristocrats, who are his social betters. However, the true story behind the sham...

(The entire section is 604 words.)


(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The play opens in late nineteenth-century London, in a drawing room at the house of the Earl of Loam. Lord Loam has invited family members...

(The entire section is 326 words.)

Literary Qualities

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

As a work of art, The Admirable Crichton is simple, consistent, and complete. Formally, it is dramatic comedy with a rather unusual...

(The entire section is 320 words.)

Social Sensitivity

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Admirable Crichton deals with a single social problem: the natural selection of leaders in any society. Women are viewed as...

(The entire section is 137 words.)

Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Lord Loam insists upon holding a tea party for his servants once a month. Does he in fact think of them as equals, as he says he does?...

(The entire section is 164 words.)

Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Some critics think that Barrie was trying merely to write a story full of adventure, like Swiss Family Robinson or his own play...

(The entire section is 274 words.)

Related Titles / Adaptations

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Admirable Crichton stands as a single play, but the characters are similar to those in many of Barrie's other plays. Both Peter in...

(The entire section is 65 words.)

For Further Reference

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Geduld, Harry. Sir James Barrie. New York: G. K. Hall, 1971. Geduld offers plot summaries and extensive analysis of all the major...

(The entire section is 207 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Birkin, Andrew. J. M. Barrie and the Lost Boys. London: Constable, 1979. Discusses the way in which Barrie, playing castaways with the Llewellyn Davies boys, was inspired to write The Admirable Crichton.

Blake, George. Barrie and the Kailyard School. London: Barker, 1951. Places Barrie’s work in its social and literary context.

Darlington, W. A. J. M. Barrie. London: Blackie, 1938. An appreciation of Barrie’s work by a noted drama critic.

Roy, James A. James Matthew Barrie: An Appreciation. London: Jarrolds, 1937. A useful commentary on Barrie’s works.

Walbrook, H. M. J. M. Barrie and the Theatre. London: F. V. White, 1922. The first detailed survey of Barrie’s dramatic work.