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Neverland: J. M. Barrie, the Du Mauriers,…

Neverland: J. M. Barrie, the Du Mauriers, and the Dark Side of Peter Pan (original 2008; edition 2011)

by Piers Dudgeon

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129393,299 (3.38)3
Title:Neverland: J. M. Barrie, the Du Mauriers, and the Dark Side of Peter Pan
Authors:Piers Dudgeon
Info:Pegasus Books (2011), Paperback, 333 pages
Collections:Your library

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Captivated: J.M. Barrie, the du Mauriers and the dark side of Neverland by Piers Dudgeon (2008)



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Don't buy this new, is what I learned from this book. If you can't get it for free, or from a library, or used, at least wait until it's in paperback. Just think what you can do with that extra $10 - that's a sandwich, or a movie ticket, or a really great day for that homeless guy on the corner. Or, at the very least, a better book. ( )
  cat-ballou | Apr 2, 2013 |
Three stars for the portion of the book that deals the relationship between George du Maurier, J. M. Barrie, and sad and unfortunate Llewelyn Davies boys, who helped inspire "Peter Pan" but who became ensnared in the author's manipulative web of emotional blackmail. If you have ever known people who are skilled at playing psychological games, there's plenty in that portion of the book to give you the shivers of recognition.

George du Maurier (1833-1896) was the author not only of the novel "Trilby" which introduced the world to the Svengali character, he also dabbled in the 19th century fad for mesmerism, something which the author Dudgeon suggests exerted a baleful influence upon two generations of his descendents. He was the grandfather of both the Llewelyn Davies boys and as Daphne du Maurier, and Dudgeon suggests that they were all linked by a particular form of "mind-bending" that left them susceptible to outside influences.

I never realized what a wounded and fragmentary personality J.M. Barrie (1860-1937) possessed - it helps me understand why there are so many elements of the whole "Peter Pan" story which give me the creeps.

But I would give only one and a half stars for the portion of the book that deals with Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989). It was too sketchy and left many holes. Dudgeon intimated that Margaret Forster has written a competent biography of the author of "Rebecca," so that's what I will turn to if I ever want to know more about her particular brand of "gothic" tales. ( )
  yooperprof | Dec 15, 2012 |
Peter Pan never appealed to me. There always seemed something deeply wrong with it. Even as a child, it made me uncomfortable.

As an adult, I continued to find it unlikeable. This biography of Barrie, his relationship with the five boys, and ongoing relationship with the DuMaurier family (Daphne DuMaurier is the endpoint of this book), has the same quality of watching a car wreck. Hard to look away, and yet you feel like you should.

Parts of it are shocking. Parts of it seemed speculative in the extreme. But, as Flora Poste would say, "Interesting and depressing." I don't know that I liked it. The author was a little too gleeful in his digging up of old and ugly scandals. It was nice to feel that my childhood instincts were correct. Peter Pan is icky. ( )
1 vote Philotera | Mar 28, 2010 |
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'Now we are again at our wits' end, where you mortals lightly slip over into madness. Why dost thou seek community with us if thou canst not carry it through?' Mephistopheles in Faust by Goethe
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London, 1960. Tuesday, 5 April: 9 a.m. In the restaurant of the Royal Court Hotel, Sloane Square, a melancholy man in his early sixties takes breakfast alone.
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Relates the tragic story of the author of the beloved children's novel, who learned hypnosis to captivate and psychologically abuse a family with whom he had become obsessed, the very family that inspired the Darlings of "Peter Pan."

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