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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Peter the Wild Boy

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PETER THE WILD BOY ( fl. 1725-1785), a Hanoverian imbecile of unknown parentage, who, having been found living wild in the woods near Hanover in 1725, was brought to England by order of George I., whose interest had been aroused in the unfortunate youth. An extraordinary amount of curiosity and speculation concerning Peter was excited in London, and the craze was the subject of a biting satire by Swift, and of another entitled The Most Wonderful Wonder that ever appeared to the Wonder of the British Nation, which has been attributed to Swift and Arbuthnot; Defoe also wrote on the subject, and Lord Monboddo in his Origin and Progress of Language presents the idiot Peter as an illustration of his theory of the evolution of the human species. He lived to an advanced age, was seen by Lord Monboddo in 1782, and died in 1785.

See Henry Wilson, The Book of Wonderful Characters (London, 1869).

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Peter the Wild Boy'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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