Author Topic: Is Peter Pan based on Peter the Wild Boy?  (Read 2221 times)

fenmoor

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Is Peter Pan based on Peter the Wild Boy?
« on: September 11, 2016, 02:15:55 PM »
Dear All,

I believe that Peter Pan may, in-part be based upon Peter the Wild Boy.

Please see paper at this link. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267206391_J_M_Barrie_Never-Landscapes_and_the_Artistic_Imagination

What do you think?

Best wishes,

Steve

twitter @PeterPanInKG
« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 04:04:12 PM by fenmoor »

Rosalind Ridley

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Re: Is Peter Pan based on Peter the Wild Boy?
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2016, 09:02:53 AM »
I think it is established that the name Peter derives from Peter Llewelyn Davies. But Pan refers to the greek god Pan, who represents the natural world as opposed to the world of culture and civilisation. Barrie’s texts are suffused with comparisons and questions about how much of human behaviour is instinctive and how much has to be learnt which was a major obsession of post-Darwinian biology. I discuss this in my book ‘Peter Pan and the Mind of J. M. Barrie’. Peter, the betwixt-and-between, represents the natural freedom of childhood before the constraints of adulthood take hold. Various ‘wild-boys’ were examined medically in the late nineteenth century in an attempt to examine Man’s natural instincts without culture and the subject was much discussed amongst the intelligentsia of the time. Barrie would probably have known about this. Modern examination of drawings, descriptions and bones suggest that at least some of the children may have been expelled from their family and village because they were mentally or physically disabled, giving a false impression of the advantages of enculturation. So in answer to your question, I think Peter Pan is not based directly on Peter the Wild Boy, but the subject matter is related.   
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 03:12:36 PM by Rosalind Ridley »

fenmoor

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Re: Is Peter Pan based on Peter the Wild Boy?
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2016, 10:51:03 AM »
Thank you for your very considered reply. I wondered at the fact that Peter the Wild Boy lived in Kensington Palace and Kensington Gardens. And that Peter Pan was also set in Kensington Gardens.  Best wishes, Steve Arnott

Rosalind Ridley

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Re: Is Peter Pan based on Peter the Wild Boy?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2016, 07:41:41 PM »
It is possible that Barrie saw the portrait of Peter the Wild Boy that hangs in Kensington Palace. The Palace was first opened to the public on occasional days from 1899 onwards. The Gardens had been open for sometime. Peter Pan was 'conceived' around 1900 and Barrie was living near and frequently visiting Kensington Gardens at the time. Thomas Tickell wrote a poem 'Kensington Gardens' in 1722 in which fairies appear.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2016, 07:52:29 AM by Rosalind Ridley »