Life Literary Oddities

Never-Never Land

An imaginary place

The phrase ‘never-never land’ is linked to a creation of the Scottish playwright Sir James Barrie. In Barrie’s play Peter Pan, first produced in 1904, Peter befriends the real-world children of the Darling family and spirits them off for a visit to Never Land, where children can fly and never have to become adults. In his 1908 play When Wendy Grew Up, Barrie changed the name to Never Never Land, perhaps influenced by already existing ‘never-never’ terms, such as Australia’s ‘never-never country’ (for its sparsely populated desert interior). Even before that, however, people had already begun to refer to a place that was overly idealistic or romantic as a ‘never-never land.’

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