Saturday, January 11, 2014


The word for the day, my dear friends, is embonpoint. Taken from this description of Tinker Bell:

"It was not really a light; it made this light by flashing about so quickly, but when it came to rest for a second you saw it was a fairy, no longer than your hand, but still growing. It was a girl called Tinker Bell exquisitely gowned in a skeleton leaf, cut low and square, through which her figure could be seen to the best advantage. She was slightly inclined to embonpoint."

Embonpoint has a lovely meaning, and in my mind, is worth the price of admission. Tink is a sassy little fairy as we know and expect, and I think Disney gave it a go as much as they could in their cartoon, but Barrie describes Tinker Bell as dressed in 'skeletal leaves,' and, 'slightly inclined to embonpoint.'
Read: buxom and bosomy and with a see-through dress. va-va-voom

This is just one of many examples of the differences between Barrie's Peter Pan and the images given us by pop culture.

This soft-bound volume was put out by Borders Books as part of their Classics Series, printed in 2006. They call it the Expanded Edition, as it includes Peter and Wendy, Barrie's own 1911 novelization of his 1904 play, Peter Pan or the Boy Who Would Not Grown Up. Just prior to the novel, Barrie penned Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, in 1906. This book also includes one further short story entitled The Blot on Peter Pan, but it isn't much about Pan at all. I think this funny little short story was written in 1926.

Kensington Gardens was fun to read, as it is essentially the Pan origin story. It doesn't tie up all the loose ends, but it does give a pretty complete picture of where Pan came from. There are other little short stories that Barrie wrote about Pan and some of the other characters in the stories, but just these three are included in this book.* It was fun, wild, and as one would expect, a little melancholy. I wonder if Tolkien and some others were inspired by Pan's sadness hidden beneath his joy. There are some distinct similarities between him and the elves of Middle Earth.

Read this book.

* 'Preface to The Coral Island' (1913); 'Captain Hook at Eton' (1927); and 'To the Five: A Dedication' (1928).

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