Other Peter Pan related works by Sir J. M. Barrie

 Sir James Matthew Barrie did not only write his story about Peter Pan 5 times in 5 different genres. He also kept coming back to the story in essays, short stories and speeches.

 The Boy Castaways
The first traces of Neverland is to be found in “The Boy Castaways". This book consisted of thirty-five photos that Sir J. M. Barrie took of the young brothers George, Jack and Peter Llewelyn Davies by Black Lake in Surrey in 1901. The photos came with captions written by Barrie and together the photos and captions told the story of three boys who were stranded on a "wrecked island". It is a pirate adventure story, where Captain Hook came alive as the black pirate Swarthy.

 Only one copy of "The Boy Castaways" has survived. Originally the book was made in two copies, one for Barrie and one for Arthur Llewelyn Davies, the boys’ father, but Arthur Davies forgot his on a train and evil tongues maintain that he did it on purpose because he didn't like Barrie much.

4 out of 5 stars: ****

 Neil and Tintinnabulum
Sir J. M. Barrie’s short story “Neil and Tintinnabulum” from 1925 describes the nightmares that his ward, Michael Llewelyn Davies, used to suffer from. In Michael’s nightmares where he was sleepwalking, he was seeking an invisible enemy and defending his home. This enemy was Peter Pan. In Barrie’s “Peter Pan” play, Peter himself had the same kind of nightmares, except his enemy was the boy who had replaced him when he was a baby back in London.

 “Neil and Tintinnabulum” is quite a tragic short story as nobody is able to help the boy.

3 out of 5 stars: ***


The Blot on Peter Pan
Sir J. M. Barrie's essay "The Blot on Peter Pan" was published in 1926. It is about the one blot on Peter: his cockiness. Barrie says that when he made up Peter, he would have liked him to be noble, obedient, polite and good, but then Peter started to brag. Asked why Barrie had altered Peter’s way of being, he said that he had become a cynic and because a boy who isn't cocky is no boy, but a man.

 The essay is a bit boring and I had hoped for something juicier than cockiness to be the blot on Peter Pan. His bloodthirstiness, for instance!

3 out of 5 stars: ***


Captain Hook at Eton
Sir J. M. Barrie's most interesting "late" work about Peter Pan is probably his speech "Captain Hook at Eton", which he gave at Eton College on July 7th, 1927, the night before the cricket match between Eton and Harrow at Lord's. The speech was later printed in Barrie's collection of articles named "M'Connachie and "J. M. B."" from 1938. Here we finally get the full story about Captain Hook, his childhood with his aunt Emily and his time at Eton.

 Here we learn that Hook was a good student with a special interest in classic poetry. He wrote poetry himself and was a member of Eton Society, the top 30 students. His aunt Emily describes him as a polite, pious and sensitive boy and she blames the use of caning at school for the gloominess that took hold of Hook. Aunt Emily detests Peter Pan because Peter's make-believe land had forced Hook to become a villain and eventually caused his death and it is suggested that if only Hook had married, he would never have become a crook.

 After his death, Hook's ghost returned to Eton to destroy all evidence that he had ever attended the school. He didn't want his bad reputation to soil Eton's name. Since then Hook's ghost has haunted Eton once a year, namely on the night before the cricket match at Lord's.

 "Captain Hook at Eton" is interesting because here we get the information that we didn't have before in order to understand Hook's complex personality. It is interesting too, that Barrie sides with his namesake James Hook against Peter. There is a reason for Hook's dark side, whereas Peter's dark side - his cockiness - seems to be inborn. In other words: Peter is born unpleasant whereas Hook is a victim of circumstances.

4 out of 5 stars: ****

 © Lise Lyng Falkenberg, 1991