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Redeeming Neverland: The Question of Shame & the Crisis of Agency Facing Modern Men

April 24th, 2023 | 18 min read

By Brad Edwards

J. M. Barrie first wrote Peter Pan as a play in 1904, expanding it into a full novel in 1911. Nothing he wrote before or since would ever come close to sparking such popular reception. It tapped into and articulated the tension of a society in the throes of rapid social change and economic reordering. British Imperialism’s assumed stability shuddered in the face of America’s rise to power on the global stage. Though Britain was technically victorious, the South African War (1899-1902) offered Great Britain both a disturbing preview of WWI and a painful illustration of the consequences in being slow to adapt to rapid technological advancement. Combining the dated tactics of the muzzle-loading era with breach-loading rifles led only to carnage. A growing fear of national decline was palpable, with its attendant implications spreading through British society.

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