Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie.

1911 edition of Peter and Wendy.
Peter Pan, first published as Peter and Wendy in 1911, is one of the most famous children's stories of all time. It was written by Sir James Matthew Barrie and was one of several 'Peter Pan' stories: the first was in one of the stories in The Little White Bird (1902); the story was the published alone as Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1906); between these publications the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up (1904); in 1908, When Wendy Grew Up – An Afterthought, and finally in 1911 - Peter and Wendy, or as it is now more commonly known, Peter Pan. The idea for the stories was largely inspired by the Davies boys, or the Llewelyn Davies boys who Barrie met in 1897: George, John, Peter, Michael, and Nicholas, the sons of Arthur and Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, and first cousins of the writer Daphne du Maurier. Following their parents' death in 1907 and 1910 Barrie, along with  Emma du Maurier, Guy du Maurier, and Compton Llewelyn Davies, became their trustee and guardian. Peter was the 'real' Peter Pan, and his brothers the Lost Boys.

Peter Pan is such a famous story one hardly needs to summarise it. It begins with one of the most famous beginnings, "All children, except one, grow up", and Barrie goes on to describe the Darling household: Mr. Darling, eminently practical, Mrs. Darling, who is very beautiful and (I found this odd), had a "sweet mocking mouth [with] one kiss on it that Wendy could never get, though there it was, perfectly conspicuous in the righthand corner", Wendy, Michael, and John. One night Peter Pan, accompanied by Tinkerbell, sneaks in in search of his lost shadow. Wendy sews it back on and reveals she knows lots of stories, so Peter Pan convinces her, Michael, and John to return to Neverland with him. There their adventures really begin: they see mermaids, rescue Tiger Lily, and do battle with the evil Captain Hook.

It is, in Peter's words, an "awfully big adventure" and one of the most magical in children's literature. It's one of my favourite reads for its perfect escapism: fairies, mermaids, pirates, and the nostalgia of it: the Edwardian setting and feel to it and also a tale from my own childhood: really, Peter Pan (appropriately) transcends time. I've read it many times and I know it won't be terribly long before I read it again.

And to finish this brief review, some illustrations for the 1911 edition by F. D. Bedford:














Comments

  1. This has been on or near the top of my TBR pile for ages now but other books keep leapfrogging it. Again, I nearly started it the other day but got diverted. I WILL read it soon.

    I always enjoy the illustrations you include in your posts.

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    1. Let me know what you think of it when you do :)

      Glad you enjoy the illustrations - I always have fun finding them and picking them!

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  2. This is also on my TBR list for this year. My familiarity is mostly with the musical, which I really enjoy for nostalgic reasons (though some of the songs are actually good). I love engraved illustrations; I think my reprint might have those, too!

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    1. I'm not at all familiar with the musical - will have to check it out :)

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  3. wonderful pictures... i should imagine there's no adult who didn't have dreams of flying when a child... i had such strong ones, i couldn't believe i couldn't do it after i woke up... almost had some disastrous episodes thereby...

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    1. Ah yes, I have been known to try and fly as a child :) More because I wanted to be a bird than imitating Peter Pan if I remember correctly...

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  4. Lovely illustrations, I've never seen those. My own favorites are by Trina Schart Hyman.

    I just learned a week or two ago that Barrie gave the rights to Peter Pan to the Children's Hospital in Great Ormond Street.

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    1. Yes, I love these illustrations and they were new to me too. I thought Arthur Rackham illustrated PP, but it was PP in Kensington Gardens. Must read that soon... ANOTHER one for the TBR pile!

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    2. I have also never read that!

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    3. It's online here - I'll no doubt read it from there, so many books I want at present, trying to cut down!

      In other news - when I went on Internet Archive to get the url for you I got some weird thing telling me to contact my congressman about "net neutrality" and how I might not be able to access that site... also had one from Pixlr earlier. Not kept up at all with American news... dare I ask - what's going on now?! Sigh... I best go discover what fresh hell is occurring... :S

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