Before Peter became a fictional character, he was a real-life Wild Boy, who lived more than a century before Barrie wrote his fairy tale.
San Diego, CA (PRWEB) October 09, 2013
Peter: The Untold True Story invites readers to discover the epic life of Peter the Wild Boy. Peter was a real historical figure of the 18th century whose amazing adventures may have provided the basis for the legend of Peter Pan, immortalized in fiction more than century later by James Barrie. Author Christopher Mechling believes the historical Peter and fictional Peter are two sides of the same coin, and a review of the facts suggests he may be right.
Mysteriously, in the introduction to his published work, James Barrie suggested that he could not recall writing Peter Pan, his most famous character. Perhaps that is because before Peter became a fictional character, he was a real-life Wild Boy, who lived more than a century before Barrie wrote his fairy tale.
Barrie wrote in the story of Peter Pan that before going to Neverland, Peter resided at Kensington Gardens amongst the fairies. The history of the fairies at Kensington Gardens traces back to an 18th century poem by Thomas Tickell called "Kensington Gardens." The epic poem featured an infant boy who was adopted and raised by fairies. Interestingly this poem was written in 1722, only a few years before Peter the Wild Boy came to London. As a guest of the Royal Family, Peter occasionally roamed Kensington Gardens' hundreds of acres. Peter the Wild Boy was a charming, intuitive feral child discovered living alone in the German forest of Hamelin. Peter's innocent spirit won King George's interest and appreciation. The King and his family hoped to educate the Wild Boy, helping him to grow up and become a proper English gentleman.
Another reported source of Inspiration for Barrie's Peter Pan was the writing of Daniel Defoe. The story of Robinson Crusoe had a major impact on the imagination a young James Barrie. It is interesting to note that Daniel Defoe lived in London at the same time as Peter, and Defoe published a pamplet about the Wild Boy, titled "Mere Nature Delineated."
It is hard to imagine that Barrie would not have been aware of the historical Peter on some level. The Wild Boy was quite a celebrity in the 18th century. He was the subject of poems, essays, short stories, scientific studies and other works by many notable figures besides Defoe. Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels, wrote several pieces influenced by Peter. So popular was Peter in his day that Swift wrote of the Wild Boy, "...there is scarcely talk of anything else."
The era in which Peter the Wild Boy lived was one that surely would have interested Barrie. It was the end of the Golden Age of Piracy, when pirates clashed with the naval power of the British Empire. It was also a time in which Indians from America were regular visitors to the Royal Court. It was the Age of Enlightenment, when science and reason were conquering the unknown, the mysterious and the wild. In the midst of this era, Peter the Wild Boy stood in the Royal Court as a prominent, curious anomaly.
When King George I died, the Royal Family did not cease their patronage of the Wild Boy. In fact, while he lived through the reigns of three Kings (all named George) Peter enjoyed the support of the Royal Family until his own passing in 1785. Certainly he was a beloved figure to several generations of the Royal family, and Christopher Mechling's engaging narrative make it easy to appreciate why he was so loved.
Peter is a magical, poignant tale full of humor, love, and courage in the face of life's difficulties. It will make you laugh, cry, dream and remember what it means to be young. Available in hardcover from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and at the author’s website (where signed copies are currently offered). It is also available as an e-book through the Apple iBookstore and Amazon Kindle.