Saturday, April 23, 2011

On April 23

On this day in ...
... 1996 (15 years ago today), P.L. Travers (right) died in London, England. She'd been born Helen Lyndon Goff 96 years earlier, in Maryborough, Queensland, Australia, daughter of an unsuccessful banker. (photo credit) She'd go on to write the Mary Poppins series of children's novels for which Travers is famous. By the time the 1st such book had been published, in 1934, Travers had already enjoyed a career as an actor and poet who traveled in artistic circles in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and England. She'd adopted the stage name "Pamela Lyndon Travers," and abbreviated it to mask her identity as a woman author. Poppins is perhaps best known on account of the 1964 Disney version, about which we've posted. But the books too are worth a read, according to a 2008 newspaper article, which recalled the sweetness of Disney's character, then continued:
Travers' own writing was far more subversive than that, as you might expect from a resolutely single parent, who adopted a baby boy in 1939, and showed rather fewer childcare skills than her fictional heroine ...

(Prior April 23 posts are here, here, and here, and here.)

3 comments:

Stephanie Farrior said...
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Stephanie Farrior said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie Farrior said...

As a fan of the books about that great defier of both gravity and social convention, Mary Poppins, I was thrilled to meet P.L. Travers while in 4th grade. She visited my school in Tokyo, Nishimachi International School, soon after I finished reading the first two Mary Poppins books. After speaking to my class, she took questions. She just smiled when I asked her to tell us where Mary Poppins went when she left on the West Wind. That would take the mystery out of it now, wouldn't it, she replied. At some point afterward, the movie came out. I enjoyed the songs, but the film captured none of the mystery and magic of the books that had so enchanted me.