Peter Pan is a book written by Scottish novelist and playwright, J. M. Barrie (1860–1937). Originally titled Peter Pan and Wendy, it was an adaptation of a stage play based on the same characters. It tells the story of a mischievous little boy who refuses to grow up. Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as leader of his gang, the Lost Boys. Pan is based on a child Barrie knew.
Peter Pan and Wendy
This is the portion of J. M. Barrie mythos of Peter Pan that is best known to most readers.
In both the play and the novel, Peter often visits the "real world" of London to listen in on bedtime stories told by Mary Darling to her children. One night, Peter is spotted, and in trying to escape he loses his shadow. On returning to claim his shadow, he wakes the girl Wendy Darling. Wendy re-attaches his shadow; Peter takes a fancy to her and invites her to Neverland to be a mother for his gang of Lost Boys, the children who are lost in Kensington Gardens. Wendy agrees, and her brothers John and Michael come along. After the dangerous, magical flight to Neverland many adventures ensue. The children are blown out of air by a cannon, then Wendy is nearly killed by the Lost Boy Tootles. Peter and the Lost Boys build a little house for Wendy to live in while she recuperates. Soon John and Michael adopt the ways of the Lost Boys, while Wendy plays house in mothering them, all the while invoking jealousy in Tinker Bell, Tiger Lily, and the mermaids. Peter is often oblivious, concentrating on real and make-believe adventures and on taunting the pirate Captain Hook. Later follows adventures at Mermaids' Lagoon, the near deaths of Tinker Bell and Peter; a violent pirate/Indian massacre, and a climactic confrontation with Peter's nemesis, the pirate Captain Hook of the pirate ship the Jolly Roger. In the end, Wendy decides that her place is at home, much to the joy of her heartsick mother. Wendy then brings all the boys back to London. Peter remains in Neverland, and Wendy grows up.
In the novel, Barrie includes an additional scene which was not in the play, but which he created for the stage under the title An Afterthought. In this scene, Peter returns to Wendy's house, not realizing that more than twenty years have passed since he took Wendy, John and Michael to Neverland, and that Wendy is now a married woman with a daughter, Jane. Confronted with the news, he breaks down and cries. Wendy leaves the room to try to think, and Peter's sobs awaken Jane, who asks him to take her with him to Neverland and to let her be his new mother. Peter joyfully accepts, and the two fly off together with Wendy sorrowfully looking off after them. Peter will now come for Jane once a year so that she will help him with his spring cleaning.
The additional scene is almost never used in the play or film versions, but it made a poignant conclusion to a famous musical production starring Mary Martin, which was such a success on television.
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 while both were married.
The character's name comes from two sources: Peter Llewelyn-Davies, at the time the youngest of the boys, and Pan, the mischievous Greek god of the woodlands. Mrs. Llewelyn Davies' death from cancer came within a few years after the death of her husband. Barrie was named as co-guardian of the boys and unofficially adopted them.
It has also been suggested that the inspiration for the character was Barrie's elder brother David, whose death in a skating accident at the age of thirteen deeply affected their mother. According to Andrew Birkin, author of J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys, the death was "a catastrophe beyond belief, and one from which she never fully recovered… If Margaret Ogilvy [Barrie's mother as the heroine of his 1896 novel of that title] drew a measure of comfort from the notion that David, in dying a boy, would remain a boy for ever, Barrie drew inspiration."
Peter Pan first appeared in print in a 1902 book called The Little White Bird, a fictionalised version of Barrie's relationship with the Llewelyn Davies children, and was then used in a very successful stage play, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, which premiered in London on December 27, 1904.
In 1906, the portion of The Little White Bird which featured Peter Pan 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 and Wendy (most often now published simply as Peter Pan).
There are seven statues of Peter Pan playing a set of pipes, cast from a mold by sculptor George Frampton, following an original commission by Barney. The statues are in Kensington Gardens in London, Liverpool, Brussels, Camden, New Jersey, Perth, Toronto, and Bowring Park in St. John's, Newfoundland.
A new statue of Peter Pan was comissioned by Great Ormond Street Hospital to celebrate J.M. Barrie's generous gift of the copyright. Unveiled by ex-Primeminister James Callaghan in 2000, the bronze by Diarmuid Byron O'Connor shows Peter blowing fairy dust over the passing children. The original design included Tinker Bell stealing Wendy's kiss from his finger.This addition was unveiled by the Countess of Wessex in 2005. A limited edition of this statue has been created to raise money for the children's charity.
The conversion of U.S. copyright terms from a fixed number of years following publication, to an extending number of years following the creator's death, has introduced confusion over Peter Pan's copyright status. Great Ormond Street Hospital claims that U.S. legislation effective in 1978 and again in 1998 extended their copyright until 2023. Their claim is based on the copyright for the play script for Peter Pan, which was not published until 1928. By then, the character of Peter Pan had appeared in three previously published books, the copyrights of which have since expired.
GOSH's claim is contested by various parties, including Disney, who had cooperated with the hospital previously, but in 2004 published Dave Barry's and Ridley Pearson's Peter and the Starcatchers without permission or royalty payments. The Library of Congress catalog states that the original edition of Peter and Wendy was published in 1911, and Disney asserts that that material, like any other work published before 1923, was already in the public domain at the time of these extensions, and was therefore ineligible to be extended.
A dispute between the hospital and writer J.E. Somma over the U.S. publication of her sequel After the Rain, was settled out of court in March 2005. GOSH and Somma issued a joint statement which characterized her novel as "fair use" of the hospital's "U.S. intellectual property rights". Their confidential settlement does not set any legal precedent, however. 
The original versions of Peter Pan are in the public domain at least in Australia, in Canada (where Somma's book was first published without incident) and in Switzerland (where the copyright expired and was not renewed when the term was later extended; see Copyright law of Switzerland).
Like many other works of fiction from the era (such as the works of Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain), the Peter Pan canon contains much material which may be construed as offensive to modern audiences, though it was likely not intended to be offensive or considered inappropriate at the time.
Specifically, the books have been accused of both racism and sexism. The former charge primarily concerns the portrayal of Native Americans in Peter And Wendy — the portrayal is highly stereotypical, with Native Americans being shown as warlike primitives who speak in guttural tones. Barrie's treatment of female characters has also been criticized by modern readers — most of the female characters in Peter And Wendy (Wendy, Tinker Bell, Tiger Lily, and the mermaids) fawn after Peter Pan (and Tinker Bell makes several attempts on Wendy's life, out of jealousy), yet Peter ignores all of their affections.
This criticism is also leveled against several more recent adaptations of the story, most notably the 1953 animated Disney film which contains a song often criticized as offensive, "What Made The Red Man Red?", a catalog of Native American stereotypes. Until the 2002 release of the DVD version of this film (which included all of the allegedly offensive content, uncensored), it was widely speculated that Disney's Peter Pan would meet the same fate as the film version of Song of the South, which has heretofore been withheld (by Disney) from the United States market on the grounds that it deals with too sensitive of an issue.
Many authors of recent adaptations of Peter Pan (as well as virtually all of the modern 'sequels') have chosen to soften (or eliminate altogether) the harsh portrayal of Native Americans. The 2003 film version directed by P. J. Hogan has been noted for going to the opposite extreme; several reviewers have criticized it for being excessively politically correct. The Disney animated sequel, Return to Neverland, features a heroine (Wendy's daughter, Jane) who, rather than being a passive 'damsel in distress', is fully capable of defending herself (and saving Peter from the clutches of Captain Hook). It should also be noted that in this sequel, no Native Americans are actually seen, but only alluded to in a scene where, flying over Neverland, Jane sees a teepee with smoke rising out of it.
Alan Moore's graphic novel Lost Girls, released in collected form in July 2006, is also controversial, setting Wendy Darling alongside L. Frank Baum's Dorothy Gale from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Lewis Carroll's Alice Liddell from Alice In Wonderland in 1913, telling each extremely sexual stories.
By 2006, Wendy had become a roommate in Chicago with Alice Liddell, Dorothy Gale, Susan Pevensie and Pollyanna Whittier, as shown in the comic series The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles.