Barrie created Peter Pan in stories he told to the sons of his friend Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, with whom he had forged a special relationship. Mrs Llewelyn Davies' death from cancer came within a few years after the death of her husband. Barrie was named as coguardian of the boys & unofficially... show more
Barrie created Peter Pan in stories he told to the sons of his friend Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, with whom he had forged a special relationship. Mrs Llewelyn Davies' death from cancer came within a few years after the death of her husband. Barrie was named as coguardian of the boys & unofficially adopted them. The character's name comes from two sources: Peter Llewelyn Davies, one of the boys, & Pan, the mischievous Greek god of the woodlands. It's also been suggested that the inspiration for the character was Barrie's elder brother David, whose death in a skating accident at 13 deeply affected their mother. According to Andrew Birkin, author of J.M. Barrie & the Lost Boys, the death was 'a catastrophe beyond belief, & one from which she never fully recovered. If Margaret Ogilvy drew a measure of comfort from the notion that David, in dying a boy, would remain a boy for ever, Barrie drew inspiration. The Peter Pan character 1st appeared in print in the 1902 novel The Little White Bird, written for adults, a fictionalised version of Barrie's relationship with the Llewelyn Davies children. The character was next used in the very successful stage play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up that premiered in London on 12/27/04. In 1906, the portion of The Little White Bird which featured Peter was published as the book Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, with illustrations by Arthur Rackham. Barrie then adapted the play into the 1911 novel Peter & Wendy--often now published simply as Peter Pan. The original draft of the play was entitled simply Anon: A Play. Barrie's working titles for it included The Great White Father & Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Hated Mothers. Producer Charles Frohman disliked the title on the manuscript, in answer to which Barrie reportedly suggested The Boy Who Couldn't Grow Up.