The Peter Pan story in the literary and cultural imagination : exploring the many re-imaginings of J.M. Barrie's story
Le Roux, Stephane Robinson
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This study examines adaptations of the Peter Pan story in three films and a graphic novel, in order to compare the different ways in which adaptation can be justified. In the various films and the graphic novel, the Peter Pan story and the various characters therein are represented in different ways. The theories of Bassnett and Lefevere, Hutcheon, and Jakobson were applied to the various chosen adaptations of the Peter Pan story. The sources consulted with the purpose of discovering which semiotic elements of the Peter Pan story were reinterpreted and recreated across the various adaptations are the original Peter Pan versions, namely: The Little White Bird (1902); an untitled typescript by an unknown typist of Barrie’s play Peter Pan (1904/05); Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1910); Peter and Wendy (1911); a scenario by Barrie for a proposed film of Peter Pan (c. 1920); and the published playscript Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Would not Grow Up (1928). The adaptations chosen for this study are: Peter Pan (silent film, 1924); Disney’s Peter Pan (animation, 1953); Peter Pan (live action, 2003); and Peter Panzerfaust (graphic novel, 2012- ). These adaptations were chosen according to their significant changes and similarities to the original story Through the application of the previously mentioned theories and the comparison to the original Peter Pan versions, the study determined that: even though the various adaptations re-imagined the original Peter Pan story and were viewed as unfaithful versions of the original text, they were successful in appropriating the story of Peter Pan. These adaptations recreated and reinterpreted the semiotic elements from the original story, through the transformation of “verbal signs” into “nonverbal sign systems”, as well as adherence to the “cultural reality” called for by Bassnett and Lefevere. The study assesses the extent to which each adaptation was a successful reinterpretation of the Peter Pan story according to the “gains” and “losses” that occurred in each case, and concludes that all the adaptations exhibited some successful elements, but that the later adaptations, less concerned with textual fidelity, were often the most successful recreations.
- Humanities 
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