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New book by author Christopher Mechling tells the remarkable, true life story of a boy who became a legend in 18th century England, more than a hundred years before the fairy tale of Peter Pan was written.
San Diego, California (PRWEB) March 20, 2013
Peter: The Untold True Story, a new novel by author Christopher Mechling, tells of a boy named Peter who would not grow up- a boy whose historic life is mirrored in the fairy tale of Peter Pan.
In 1725, Peter the Wild Boy was discovered in the forest of Hamelin, having lived alone in the wild since he was very young. Immediately capturing the public imagination, he was taken to meet George I, Duke of Hanover and King of England. Peter's good nature won the appreciation of King George. As a result, he was brought from Germany to London where he was introduced and became a popular figure in society, in the midst of an era when science and reason were conquering the unknown, the mysterious and the wild.
Peter's character captivated the imaginations of many of England's best contemporary writers and thinkers, including Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift. In the Age of Enlightenment, the feral child was a charming curiosity beloved by those who met him, including the Royal Family. Caroline of Ansbach, wife of George II and future Queen of England, was touched by Peter's innocence, and took the boy into her care. It was the hope of the Royal Family, not only to provide for Peter's future, but to help him grow up to be an ideal English gentleman.
To the satirist Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels, the attempt to civilize Peter seemed a vain effort. In his essay, It Cannot Rain But It Pours, he wrote, "Let us pray the Creator of all beings, wild and tame, that as this wild youth by being brought to court has been made a Christian, so such as are at court, and are no Christians, may lay aside their savage and rapacious nature, and return to the meekness of the Gospel."
Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe and other works, took the effort to educate Peter more seriously. In a pamphlet titled Mere Nature Delineated, he wrote, " ... It would indeed be a terrible satire upon the present inspired Age, first to allow this Creature to have a Soul, and to have Power of thinking, qualified to make a right judgment of Things, and then to see that under the Operation and Influence of that regular and well-ordered judgment, he should see it reasonable to choose to... retire again from human Society, rather than dwell among the informed of Mankind."
For several years, Peter lived in the royal residences, and was the talk of London. He learned many things, but never grew up- he remained a wild youth, and was ultimately celebrated for this. Even after he retired to a comfortable life in the country, Peter was a legendary figure in England, and attracted visitors to his home for decades.
Throughout his life, even into his seventies, Peter maintained a youthful appearance and energy. Evolutionary theorist Lord Monboddo, who visited Peter in 1782, said of the Wild Boy, "He is of low stature, not exceeding five feet three inches; and though he must be now about 70 years of age, [he] has a fresh, healthy look. His face is not at all ugly or disagreeable, and he has a look that may be called sensible and sagacious, for a savage. [He] had always that gentleness of nature, which I hold to be characteristical of our nature, at least until we become carnivorous, and then hunters or warriors. He is said to have sometimes run seventy or eighty miles a day. His strength always appeared to be so much superior that the strongest young men were afraid to contend with him, and this strength continued almost unimpaired till about a year and a half ago."
Christopher Mechling's imaginative dramatization of the life of Peter captures the joy, innocence and fire of a bright, feral child living in the midst of the Age of Enlightenment. The epic story of his life, spanning approximately seventy years, navigates a tumultuous and thoughtful period in English history, rich with characters.
Peter: The Untold True Story is scheduled to be released May 4, 2013. It will be distributed to bookstores through Ingram, and booksellers can register here to be notified when the book is available for order. Readers may pre-order the historical novel online now at http://www.christophermechling.com.
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