Monday, January 7, 2019

. . . And Peter Llewelyn Davies

I have multiple historical interests (and my interests have shifted over the years). My big interests currently are the Antebellum period, Bleeding Kansas, and the Civil War (all of which are inter-related, of course), and the Edwardian age and World War 1. (Just a quick shout-out to the recently released documentary They Shall Not Grow Old. Go see it if you can.)

One particular interest is the Llewelyn Davies boys, who inspired Peter Pan. I was browsing the cornucopia of documents over at jmbarrie.co.uk (you can hear JM Barrie and Nico Ll Davies speak!) and came across what's called "the morgue", which was a collection of family papers interspersed with Peter Ll Davies's commentary. It was collected c. 1950.

This really got me. Peter did not have an easy life and ended up committing suicide, and, well, this is an indication of the turmoil in this poor guy's mind (he had many proble.s unrelated to Peter Pan, for the record):

"[This is] the earliest surviving letter from its author [JM Barrie] to the writer of these lines [Peter], to whom the association has ever been fraught with complexities from which all others escaped.

"What's in a name? My God, what isn't?

"If that perennially juvenile lead, if that boy so fatally committed to an arrestation of his development, had only been dubbed George, or Jack, or Michael, or Nicholas, what miseries would have been spared me." [Not a question but a statement, interestingly.]

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