History of Literature

English literature



Pamela Lyndon Travers

born Aug. 9, 1899, Maryborough, Queen., Austl.
died April 23, 1996, London, Eng.

Australian-born English writer known for her Mary Poppins books, which have been widely translated and were the basis for the motion picture Mary Poppins (1964).

As a dancer and actress in Australia, she changed her name to P.L. Travers. She subsequently moved to England, where she worked as a journalist and became friendly with the poets William Butler Yeats and AE (George William Russell). AE published some of her poems in The Irish Statesman. In the 1930s she wrote drama criticism for the New English Weekly. Her first book, Mary Poppins (1934), about a magical, good-hearted, and exceedingly efficient nanny, was an immediate success. Two years later, after she began writing sequels, Travers decided to write full-time. She traveled throughout Europe and the United States lecturing and gaining new material for her stories. During World War II she worked in the British Ministry of Information. From 1965 to 1971 she was writer-in-residence at such colleges as Radcliffe, Smith, and Scripps in the United States. She later served as a contributing editor (1976–96) to Parabola, a journal on mythology. She never married but adopted a son. Later works include several travel books and a collection of essays, What the Bee Knows: Reflections on Myth, Symbol, and Story (1989).




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