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Ltryptophan's avatar

What is the best edition of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie?

Asked by Ltryptophan (9100 points ) September 2nd, 2011

ISBN or some definite call reference, Thanks!

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9 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Why would one edition be better than another unless you want a first edition for its monetary value?

muppetish's avatar

I’m not sure of the answer myself, but I am interested in any suggestions users may have because I intend to write my master’s thesis on Barrie. Do you want the best edition for the novel Peter and Wendy or the play “Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up”? The version that my Children’s Literature professor assigned us of Peter Pan in Kensington Garden and Peter and Wendy (or the novelisation) was the Oxford World Classics edition (ISBN 0199537844). I had trouble tracking down a copy of the play that was on its own and had promising notations. I ended up purchasing the Oxford World Classics’ collection of Barrie’s plays (0199537836).

Jeruba's avatar

As @muppetish‘s answer implies, the story was originally written as a play and not as a novel. Before that, Peter Pan was apparently a bit player in a novel written for adults.

From Wikipedia: The character’s best-known adventure debuted on 27 December 1904, in the stage play “Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up”. The play was adapted and expanded somewhat as a novel, published in 1911 as Peter and Wendy” (later as “Peter Pan and Wendy”, and still later as simply “Peter Pan”).

@Ltryptophan, what constitutes “best” to you? Oldest (earliest) printing, most authentic looking, finest stock and binding, nicest illustrations?

Ltryptophan's avatar

@Jeruba I gotta have pictures, I judge books by their covers…I get it.

I surpose “best” is going to be an amalgam of better qualities. I would say that the author’s truest rendering of the story would usually be the best. Maybe the book has been translated from Russian? In that case the original work is not going to help me. There is likely at least a few different translations in that case and maybe someone could recommend which translator did the best job.

Maybe, in the case of Peter Pan, there are extra circumstances. I think we’ve seen those bubbling up. Editing seems to play a part as well in some of the better editions of the classics. Not to mention abridged vs. unabridged.

(by the way, I just looked at the Wikipedia article on abridgement, and in the 6th paragraph third sentence, I think that the terms should be vice-versa. Right?)

Jeruba's avatar

@Ltryptophan, which paragraph? The sixth paragraph (“In a nonfiction piece,...”) has only two sentences.

The book version of Peter Pan was written in English. There shouldn’t be differences between the text of published versions. Editors don’t keep working over an author’s original text after it’s been published. Unless the author actually made revisions after publication, not a common practice at all, the verbiage of every edition ought to be identical. It’s not just the story but the author’s own exact language that makes literature literature.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Collectors would say first edition, first impression. But what do they know. The best version of any book is the one you read.

gasman's avatar

An upcoming annotated version is due out next month:
The Annotated Peter Pan (The Centennial Edition) Ed. Maria Tatar.

Its promotional blurb says, ”This brilliantly designed volume—with period photographs, full-color images by iconic illustrators, commentary on stage and screen versions, and an array of supplementary material, including Barrie’s screenplay for a silent film—will draw readers into worlds of… [etc.]

It might shed some light on your issues of provenance and how best to reference the source.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@Jeruba it is the sixth indented group in the second heading titled “Abridgement for Audio”.

Jeruba's avatar

@Ltryptophan, this sentence?

Unabridged versions of books are popular among those with poor eyesight or reading skills who wish to appreciate the entirety of the work, while the abridged version is more often preferred by those who just want to follow the story in a quick and entertaining way.

If you mean that you think the terms “unabridged” and “abridged” ought to be exchanged, no, I don’t think so. This is specifically about audio renditions. It’s saying that people who can’t read very well (those with either eyesight problems or literacy problems) but who still want to take in the entire work as originally written go for the unabridged (full-length) audio version. The abridged (shortened) audio version is preferred by people who just want to get the story in brief form but don’t care about the author’s exact words—the language of literature.

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