Neverland: J. M. Barrie, the Du Mauriers, and the Dark Side of Peter Pan

Neverland: J. M. Barrie, the Du Mauriers, and the Dark Side of Peter Pan

by Piers Dudgeon


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The untold story behind Peter Pan: The shocking account of J. M. Barrie's abuse and exploitation of the du Maurier family.

In his revelatory Neverland, Piers Dudgeon tells the tragic story of J. M. Barrie and the Du Maurier family. Driven by a need to fill the vacuum left by sexual impotence, Barrie sought out George du Maurier, Daphne du Maurier’s grandfather (author of the famed Trilby), who specialized in hypnosis. Barrie’s fascination and obsession with the Du Maurier family is a shocking study of greed and psychological abuse, as we observe Barrie as he applies these lessons in mind control to captivate George’s daughter Sylvia, his son Gerald, as well as their children—who became the inspiration for the Darling family in Barrie’s immortal Peter Pan.

Barrie later altered Sylvia’s will after her death so that he could become the boys’ legal guardian, while pushing several members of the family to nervous breakdown and suicide. Barrie’s compulsion to dominate was so apparent to those around him that D. H. Lawrence once wrote: J. M Barrie has a fatal touch for those he loves. They die.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781605981918
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 07/15/2011
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Piers Dudgeon worked closely with Daphne du Maurier on her book Enchanted Cornwall. He began his research on his book  Neverland after learning that Daphne had placed a moratorium on her diaries until fifty years after her death. Piers has worked with authors as diverse as John Fowles, Peter Ackroyd, Shirley Conran and Ted Hughes. He lives in London.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Family Tree xi

Author's Note xiii

Part I 1945-1960 The Lost Boys and Daphne

Chapter 1 Peter's suicide: a case to answer 3

Chapter 2 What is the secret? 27

Part II 1789-1862 Kicky and Barrie: learning to fly

Chapter 1 Du Maurier dreamers 39

Chapter 2 Peak experience 44

Chapter 3 The boy who hated mothers 58

Chapter 4 Nervous breakdown 78

Part III 1885-1894 Kicky, Barrie and Svengali: the secret

Chapter 1 Impotent and ambitious 91

Chapter 2 Gateway to Neverland 98

Chapter 3 Purloining the key 116

Chapter 4 The corruption of Neverland 123

Part IV 1894-1910 Sylvia, the Lost Boys and Uncle Jim: the Peter Pan Inheritance

Chapter 1 Slipping into madness 139

Chapter 2 Predator and victim 146

Chapter 3 Philanderings in the park 152

Chapter 4 The boy in the box 156

Chapter 5 Flying Uncle Jim to Neverland 167

Chapter 6 Peter Pan, a demon boy 176

Chapter 7 Sylvia's Will 186

Part V 1910-1921 Michael, Daphne and Uncle Jim: 'An Awfully Big Adventure'

Chapter 1 Looking for Michael 201

Chapter 2 Daphne's initiation 213

Chapter 3 Michael's suicide 232

Part VI 1921-1989 Uncle Jim and Daphne: the Rebecca Inheritance

Chapter 1 Rebecca, a demon boy 249

Chapter 2 Breakdown and suicide 278

Chapter 3 No escape 288

Appendix: On Women in Love 293

Bibliography 298

Notes 301

Acknowledgements and Sources 312

Index 316

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Neverland: J. M. Barrie, the Du Mauriers, and the Dark Side of Peter Pan 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Philotera on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While the previous review was not helpful for this book, the Witch & Wizard by Patterson and Charbonnet is a very fun and twisty sci fi futuristic novel. I agree with that reviewer, try it. My rating is for that novel actually!