Peter Pan: origini storico-culturali



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(le origini storico-culturali che stanno alla base della stesura di Peter Pan)
In every society, in every century, a stage of life seems to have an advanced prestige. For example In Ancient China the greatest honours were recognized to old people while In the 60s in the America the attention turned on the teenagers. The Victorians instead, preferred the children who had not still caught up with the puberty.
The natural innocents of Blake and Wordsworth reappear in versions more adapted to the medium public taste in many stories and poems of the nineteenth Century. This children were endowed with an angelic beauty and a fascination that often push the angels to carry them with themselves. But the premature death of these children is not perceived in a tragically way, in fact, never becoming adults, they will have the opportunity of escaping the oppressions of the world.
This is a classic Victorian idea. In this context born in Barrie’s mind the idea of Peter Pan. The figure of Peter Pan becomes mythical, in fact it characterizes to such point the Anglo-Saxon culture that Camillo Pellizzi in his "History of the written English theatre" wrote:
The story of the child who refused to grow up could not came from a writer who pertaining to a culture, the Anglo-Saxon culture of the beginning of the century, that considered the end of the infantile age, an age free from rules and responsibility par excellence, an irreparable loss.
(Margaret Ogilvy – J. M. Barrie)
Barrie (1860-1937) . His style developed in a Victorian climate; Then he was a successful playwright in the carefree Edwardian age and lived his old age in a perfect Decadent spirit. Barrie was an intensely autobiographical writer. All Barrie’s life led up to the creation of Peter Pan, and everything that he had written so far contained hints or foreshadowings of what was to come.
Barrie wrote Peter Pan between 1902 and 1911, in Edwardian age. It was an hedonist period , but also fervent for the sudden social changes. The conflicts in scientific, political and artistic field, had the natural consequence of a nostalgic regret of the sweet illogicality of the childhood.
Peter Pan is the incarnation of this idea: an increasing need to escape from a too problematic reality. Barrie's Peter Pan is, first, a typical Victorian atmosphere infant, and then an impertinent child who refuses to become adult and to resign himself to the wickedness of a wedding and a mediocre employment.
“I don’t want ever to be a man” he said with passion “ i want always to be a little boy and to have fun” (Peter Pan and Wendy – J.M. Barrie)

Peter Pan is the incarnation of two types of children who reflect two different ideas of infancy: the Victorians’ idea for which the infant was little more than an adult in miniature and the symbol of innocence, purity and goodness; and the Edwardian’s idea for which the childhood was a particular category with its own universe; moreover the Edwardian saw in children the symbol of the hedonism, of the amusement, of the adventure and mainly of the thoughtlessness.
The comedy of Peter Pan, walked the boards for the first time in 27th on December 1904. Barrie’s Peter Pan anticipated aspirations and dreams which were in contrast with the brutal truth of the Edwardian society. In the new society of industrial Capitalism the concept that infancy must be defended, social protected, made hard work to assert itself; n 1904 the infant mortality rate in large British towns increased violently, despite having been on the decline since 1899. Whether Barrie knew the statistics or not, he must have been aware that many children didn’t reach maturity: Death was therefore much more a part of children’s lives in Edwardian England than it is today, and most kids would have experienced the loss of at least one friend by the age they went to see “Peter Pan” on stage. By presenting death as an adventure J.M. Barrie was using his influence, through his inspirational lead character, to help children come to terms with their inevitable bereavement and neither to fear their own death.
“to die will be an awfully big adventure”
(Peter Pan and Wendy – J.M. Barrie)
Moreover for the bourgeoisie of that years the child were, yes, a fragile creature to protect, but also only a graceful trinket to expose, whose personality did not count. An example of this philosophy was the famous saying (proverb), which was born at that time and which was diffused still today:
“ Children Should Be Seen and Not Heard “.
Barrie has an abstract idea of the child and he totally ignores the torments of these children; He thought that the child was assured from the wealthy life of the high and medium bourgeoisie, protect from the familiar well-being, but to the contrary of as the bourgeois thought, the child’s personality counts more of every other. Barrie was therefore, in is own way, a defender of infancy, the wonderful age of happiness and joy, the age cheerful, innocent and without heart, according to one of his definitions, that is perfectly synthesized in the magical fascination of Peter Pan.
These were the true reasons of the success of the play which as a consequence was seen like an outcry in favour of the beloved children who were overwhelmed by the hard world of the adults. the Edwardian society was charmed by this play.



  1. fabrizio scoltinato

    un tema sul libro peter pan per un compito scolastico

  2. Giu

    Tesina sulla sindrome di peter pan