P. L. Travers

Travers, P. L. (Pamela Lyndon Travers), 1899–1996, British author best known for her Mary Poppins children's books, b. Australia as Helen Lyndon Goff. She worked as an actress and journalist and moved to London in 1924. With Mary Poppins (1934), Travers introduced the world's children to that prim, plain, vain, imperious, acerbic, and mysteriously magical English nanny, her young charges, and many others. The book was a great success, and seven sequels followed, the last in 1988. Disney's film adaptation (1964), which retained some story lines but changed the spirit of the book and its characters, made Travers famous. She was also the author of several other books for children. Interested in the occult, she wrote a biography (1973) of her teacher, G. I. Gurdjieff. In addition, she wrote extensively about mythology; many of her essays were collected in What the Bee Knows: Reflections on Myth, Symbol and Story (1989).

See biography by V. Lawson (1999, 2005); study by E. D. Draper and J. Koralek, ed. (1999).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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