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Sunday, 5 February 2017

Peter Pan

Peter Pan is a fictional character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie (1860–1937). He is a free spirited boy who can fly and never grows up. Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood playing on the mythical island of Neverland as the leader of the Lost Boys.

Barrie first created Peter Pan in stories he told to amuse the sons of his friend Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, George and Jack, with whom he had forged a special relationship. They started off with Barrie telling them their little brother Peter could fly. This grew into a tale of a baby boy who did fly away.

Peter Pan was based on Barrie's older brother, David, who died in an ice-skating accident the day before his 14th birthday.


The character's name comes from two sources: Peter Llewelyn Davies, one of the boys, and Pan, the mischievous Greek god of the woodlands.

Peter Pan's arch enemy, Captain Hook was modeled on Herman Melville's Moby Dick character Captain Ahab.

The first appearance of Peter Pan came in Barrie's adult novel The Little White Bird, which was serialized in the United States, then published in a single volume in the UK in 1902. He appears as a seven-day-old baby in the chapter entitled Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.

Barrie returned to the character of Peter Pan as the center of his stage play entitled Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, which had its first stage performance on December 27, 1904. A Broadway production was mounted in 1905 starring Maude Adams.

Announcement of the original play (historical). Wikipedia Commons

Barrie adapted the play into the 1911 novel Peter and Wendy (most often now published simply as Peter Pan).

In the original Peter Pan book, J.M. Barrie killed the Lost Boys when they got too old.

Wendy's popularity as a girl's name is attributed to the character Wendy Darling from the 1904 play Peter Pan and its 1911 novelization. The name was inspired by young Margaret Henley, daughter of Barrie's poet friend W. E. Henley. With the common childhood difficulty pronouncing Rs, Margaret reportedly used to call him "my fwiendy-wendy."

Title page of Peter and Wendy Wikipedia Commons

In Peter Pan, James Barrie tells how Nana, the Darling children's Newfoundland pet dog which served them as nursemaid as well, had been shabbily treated by their father. Realizing how unkind he had been to the animal and feeling ashamed of it, in self-inflicted punishment he went to live in the doghouse. When the tale of Peter Pan captured people's imagination, it perpetuated the phrase "in the doghouse."

In 1929, James Barrie signed over the rights of Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Since that time, the children's hospital has received a royalty from every production of Peter Pan that hits the stage, in addition to sales of the book and all related products.

Walt Disney portrayed Peter Pan in a school play, claiming that "No actor ever identified himself with the part he was playing more than I."

On February 5, 1953, Walt Disney released Peter Pan, an animated film based on the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up.

Advertising poster for 1953 theatrical exhibition

Michael Jackson cited Disney's Peter Pan as his favorite movie of all time, from which he derived the name for his estate Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara, where he had a private amusement park.

Here is a list of songs inspired by Peter Pan.

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