When Arthur died of cancer of the jaw, Barrie helped the family financially, sending the boys to Eton. As the sons grew older, his interest wandered from George to young Michael. Ansell left Barrie for a younger writer, Gilbert Cannan. When Sylvia herself succumbed to cancer, Barrie became the boys' guardian. Then George Llewelyn Davies died on the western front during the first world war; and after the war, Michael killed himself, drowning in the arms of a friend at Oxford.
Barrie never recovered from the loss. What motivated Barrie will always remain uncertain. Was he "in love" with George and then Michael? Was he attempting to return to his own boyhood through theirs? Did he love or lust after Sylvia? What facilitated the friendships was Barrie's zest for fantasy combined with a sense of self-enclosure about the man.
That his remoteness involved a possessing hunger for company was his — and the boys' — tragedy. Yet out of his friendship with the Llewelyn Davies family emerged Barrie's various versions of the Peter Pan story. The tales long for a lost and heartless innocence, and are key texts in what has been perceived to be the golden age of children's literature, that series of great works running from The Water Babies to Winnie the Pooh.
Though complex, out-of-kilter and puzzling, such books also evoke an enchanted quietness. That we now know so much about the story behind Peter Pan is mostly down to one writer. It can be hard to forgo any myth of departed splendour, and for me, watching Andrew Birkin's The Lost Boys itself fostered nostalgia for the hallowed decades of British television drama.
The programme's brilliance arises both from Birkin's commitment to accuracy and from the knowledge that truth must be something concealed from us, somewhere playing hide and seek among the manuscripts and letters. The acting is note-perfect too, especially Ian Holm's performance as Barrie. The attentiveness and patience of the piece, its combining the richness of a novel and the virtues of theatre with the resources of television the voice-over, the use of landscape are qualities that it would be hard to find now on British TV.
Finding Neverland tenders the same story as The Lost Boys , but this time as a sweet romantic fable. Everything odd and intriguing about the real story is smoothed away — no inconvenient Arthur Llewelyn Davies, no thought of blaming Barrie for the failure of his marriage, no marked interest in the boys as boys, no insight into Barrie's glum and fantastical complexities.
Instead there's just a summer-soaked hymn to the imagination and a subdued, unspoken love affair, Brief Encounter with Billy Liar dream-escapades thrown in. And so all the power of Barrie's strangeness slips away, leaving only an immense pity for a young mother dying and leaving her sons. Just as we return over to Barrie's personal life, versions of the Peter Pan story itself proliferate we hurry past Steven Spielberg's Hook , averting our eyes in silence ; the play still on occasion holds the stage.
But these multiple reimaginings only perpetuate a process that Barrie himself began. The first problem faced by Maria Tatar, the editor of The Annotated Peter Pan , is what version of the story one would choose to annotate.
There are least six possible contenders: The Boy Castaways of Black Lake Island , purportedly by Peter Llewelyn Davies, a photo book of the Llewelyn Davies boys playing out the adventures of shipwrecked sailors, of which two copies were made in ; The Little White Bird , a novel for adults with some chapters devoted to Peter Pan; the original stage play ; the Peter Pan chapters from The Little White Bird reissued, with Arthur Rackham's wonderful illustrations, as Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens ; Peter and Wendy , "the book of the play", and the closest thing to a standard children's book; and finally the printed, much revised play text of Peter Pan published in It's a bibliographer's dream, and an editor's nightmare.
Understandably Tatar plumped for Peter and Wendy , though in my view, the play is the thing, the finest and most interesting expression of Barrie's personal myth. Nonetheless, Tatar makes up for her choice with four separate introductions, plus Barrie's introduction to the play, FD Bedford's original illustrations to the children's novel, Rackham's illustrations, an essay on Rackham, a facsimile printing of The Boy Castaways , Barrie's scenario for a proposed silent movie version of Peter Pan , an essay on adaptations, prequels, sequels and spinoffs, and a collection of quotes and responses by people as diverse as George Bernard Shaw, George Orwell and Patti Smith.
As will be obvious, it's a sumptuous and copiously illustrated book that anyone who loves Peter Pan would love. Barrie is the most ironical of children's writers. He stands always at a winking distance from words, making faces behind the phrases. This is why the play remains the classic version. For here Barrie bases his story of a child given over to perpetual playing in the fact that theatre anyway consists of adults seriously playing the childhood game of "let's pretend".
Here there are only pretend mothers and fathers, pretend food, pretend deaths. The play's stage directions call for an infected realism, precise and literal, and yet utterly fantastic. The play's preposterous demands, with its flying children, swimming mermaids, pirate ship and hungry crocodile, dance around the limits of theatrical illusion. And then the horrible appeal to the audience comes, that they should play "let's pretend" too and assert their belief in fairies, to clap their hands and save Tinkerbell's life.
They must pretend really to believe in the pretence, and act as though they are more childlike than they are. No wonder that when he saw the play as a child, Graham Greene sat on his hands. Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens dishes up a potent local myth, one that even now endows that park with magic. To have permanently altered the way we imagine a part of London is a grand achievement.
The later reworking of the plot, with Tinkerbell, pirates, Indians and the Darlings lost this specifically local beauty, but gained a great deal. Above all, it discovered Neverland, that map of Barrie's imagination.
Other than its central myth of eternal youth, the life of Peter Pan itself now resides mostly in Captain Hook — a man hungry for admiration, flamboyant, maimed, vindictive, a passionate hater of the child and yet condemned to play for ever in a world of children.
He's the bad parent waiting to be slain. In the story, fathers come in for a hard time, conceited and insubstantial Mr Darling being consigned to the kennel; mothers on the other hand have it even worse. Barrie contemplated naming the story "The Boy Who Hated Mothers", and tried to have the actress playing Mrs Darling double with Captain Hook Barrie himself remarked, "There is the touch of the feminine in Hook, as in all the greatest pirates.
On the subject of racial categories, Mary Brewer's scholarly article in the Cambridge University Press takes the position that the story of Peter Pan embraces "…the amorphous status granted to whiteness in the text," which lends it "cultural authority" Brewer, , p.
The book has a beautiful illustration made by Barrie of the Kensington Gardens, with his own fictional venues prominently displayed. On the subject of his brother dying, author Anthony Lane writes in the New Yorker that James' brother David was killed when a fellow ice-skater hit him and David fell backwards and "cracked his skull" Lane, , p. Pharand states, "…also a surprisingly -- often shockingly -- adult story" Pharand, , p. In her book Now or Neverland: Peter Pan and the Myth of Eternal Youth -- a Psychological Perspective on a Cultural Icon, author Ann Yeoman expresses what critics and scholars know very well, that as readers "…we have license to propose a number of possible developments" for the characters Berrie has created in the book Yeoman, , p.
Barrie…is something even more rare" than a genius. He is "a child who, by some divine grace, can express through an artistic medium the childishness that is in him" Beerbohm.
Among the scholarly research into methodologies in Berrie's novel, Holly Blackford seems to have hit on a thorny one: That said, an examination into the methodologies that scholars and intellectuals have already conducted is a worthy rationale to embrace on the path to a more thorough understanding of the book.
Literature Review of Methodologies Does anyone in the scholarly literary critique business really understand why Berrie made the provocative comments -- purportedly to the five sons of his friends Arthur Llewellyn Davies and Davies' wife Sylvia du Maurier -- in his initial dedication of his book?
Berrie claims he "made Peter Pan" through a process of "rubbing the five of you violently together, as savages with two sticks" to "produce a flame"?
What is Peter Pan's shadow like and what does it mean? Peter Pan's shadow seems to symbolize some sort of tie to the human world of the Darlings. Mrs. Darling sees .
- Common threads in The Lost Boys, Dracula and Peter-Pan In The Lost Boys there are similar occurrences and references to both of the novel Dracula, by Bram Stoker and .
Barrie's Peter Pan () circulates in the popular imagination as a happy tale for children that, through the adventures of Peter and the other children in Never Land, celebrates playfulness. As Mark Twain commented, "It is my belief that Peter Pan is a great and refining and uplifting benefaction to this sordid and money-mad age; and the next best /5(9). Peter goes on a mission to save her, and it ends in an epic battle between Hook and Peter. Peter wins the battle. Wendy decides to go home, and she takes her brother and the lost boys with her. Peter keeps living in Neverland. Peter Pan is a relatively easy novel to read; I have calculated the lix number for the first page to be
This essay will talk about the character, narrative, contrast, conflict and genre of the film Peter Pan (). The heroine of the film is Wendy and the hero is Peter Pan. Wendy is the daughter of the Darling family. Bearing these criteria in mind this essay will examine the difference between the stage version of Peter Pan ( ) with the film version (). Let us consider the .