Saving Mr Banks

by
February 2014, no. 358

Saving Mr Banks

by
February 2014, no. 358

P.L. Travers (1906–96) did her best to keep her private life private. Perhaps her reservations harked back to the days before she penned Mary Poppins (eight novels, 1934–88) when she was a human interest columnist for a daily newspaper. As a writer of both journalism and fiction she knew as well as anyone that hearsay and speculation were quite different from myth and fairy tale. Still, Travers’s life has been the subject of tabloid sensationalism intermittently over the years. Often ignoring the magic and mysticism that flew into the Banks’ lives along with her character Mary Poppins, the press was interested in secret and scandal. There was coarse commentary on the author’s adoption of Camillus Hone, the twin whose brother she neither wanted nor took in, along with her alleged affairs with older men and with women, as though these issues ought to alter public opinion of her literary achievements.

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