A Lively Oracle

A Centennial Celebration of P.L. Travers, Creator of Mary Poppins By P.L. Travers

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A Lively Oracle
A Centennial Celebration of P.L. Travers, Creator of Mary Poppins
by P.L. Travers

Featuring the author of Mary Poppins, whose creative process with it inspired feature films Mary Poppins Returns and Saving Mr. Banks

Subjects: Fairytales, Biography, Literature

5.5 x 8.5, paperback
224 pages
4 photos

From the creator of Mary Poppins!

ISBN 10: 0-943914-94-9
ISBN 13: 978-0-943914-94-7

Book Details

Description

"This fascinating collection of essays and interviews. . . . celebrates Travers as an oracle of insights and connections that came to her because she had mastered the art and discipline of opening up to reality. . . . an unusual, rewarding volume." —Publishers Weekly


Do you know that the legendary creator of Mary Poppins was a brilliant, mysterious woman with wide-ranging accomplishments? That she found deep poems in the silence of the bush, played Shakespearean roles in the Australian outback, crossed the world to plunge barefoot through Irish bogs and come under the tutelage of W.B. Yeats and George Bernard Shaw, received a secret name from Navajo elders, dined with G.I. Gurdjieff, raked sand gardens in Japan . . . and that Celtic literary genius A.E. (George Russell) was virtually a second father to her? 

Pamela L. Travers passionately celebrated story, fairytale, and mythic image. She co-founded and was a guiding light for Parabola magazine for many years. Friends and colleagues celebrated her on the centennial of her birth (1899) with this Lively Oracle. These tributes, stories, interviews, and analyses of her work — all from people who knew her — recount delightful facets of one of the 20th century's most creative and memorable minds.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents for A Lively Oracle
 

Introduction, by Ellen Dooling Draper

Part One: Biographical Notes

    Refining Nectar, by Ben Haggarty
    Ever Afterwards, by Adrian House

Part Two: Mary Poppins

    Worlds Beyond Worlds: A Critical Study of the Mary Poppins Books,
         by Jenny Koralek
    How Are They Going to Make That into A Movie? P.L. Travers, Julie Andrews, and Mary Poppins
         by Brian Sibley


Part Three: The Other Books

    Hanuman in Putney
          by James George
    About the Sleeping Beauty: The Veil Grows Transparent—
Or Does It?
         by Martha Heyneman
    A Good Gift
         by Brian Sibley

Part Four: Themes

    Exploring the Homeland of Myth: The Parabola Essays,
         by Ellen Dooling Draper
    What is the Story?
         by Paul Jordan-Smith
    A Writer Worth Her Salt: In the Editorial Kitchen with
Pamela Travers
         by Rob Baker
    Journeyer Back to Here and Now
         by Trebbe Johnson
    Mary Poppins as a Zen Monk
         by Feenie Ziner

Part Five: Conversations, Lectures, Interviews

    The First Storytellers: A Conversation, P. L. Travers and Sir Laurens van der Post
    No Forgetting
          by Jonathan Cott

    At Home with Pamela Travers: The Radcliffe Lectures
          by Philip Zaleski

Part Six: Three Articles by P.L. Travers

    I Never Wrote for Children 
   Myth, Symbol, and Tradition
    The Fairy Tale as Teacher

Afterword: Pamela Travers from A to Z, by Jenny Koralek

Contributors

Index

Publishers Weekly review

We learn in this fascinating collection of essays and interviews that P.L. Travers, the British creator of Mary Poppins, bristled when asked about dates and places and influences because she knew that banal facts could never convey her sense of living in the midst of a great mystery. Offering only the barest sketch of her outer life (Travers was born in Australia and became a student of the mystic G.I. Gurdjieff, W.B. Yeats, and others), this work celebrates Travers as an oracle of insights and connections that came to her because she had mastered the art and discipline of opening up to reality.  Draper, former editor of Parabola magazine (which Travers helped found), and Koralek, an English children's author and friend of Travers's, present a Travers who is not the sum of her biographical parts but a soul in question, a pilgrim on an ever-deepening journey toward an unknown home. "Perhaps we are looking for miracles," wrote Travers.  "Most certainly we are looking for meaning.  We want the fox not to eat the hare, we want the opposites reconciled." Not every piece here shines.  Reminiscences by Jim George and Paul Jordan-Smith come off as self-aggrandizing rather than illuminating.  The best entries, however, including interviews by Jonathan Cott and Sir Laurens Van der Post, and essays by Martha Heyneman and others, explore the work and mind of a woman who was seeking that place of profound connection and reconciliation we read about in fairytales, "where the fox and the hare say goodnight to each other."  This is an unusual, rewarding volume.

Book Details

"This fascinating collection of essays and interviews. . . . celebrates Travers as an oracle of insights and connections that came to her because she had mastered the art and discipline of opening up to reality. . . . an unusual, rewarding volume." —Publishers Weekly


Do you know that the legendary creator of Mary Poppins was a brilliant, mysterious woman with wide-ranging accomplishments? That she found deep poems in the silence of the bush, played Shakespearean roles in the Australian outback, crossed the world to plunge barefoot through Irish bogs and come under the tutelage of W.B. Yeats and George Bernard Shaw, received a secret name from Navajo elders, dined with G.I. Gurdjieff, raked sand gardens in Japan . . . and that Celtic literary genius A.E. (George Russell) was virtually a second father to her? 

Pamela L. Travers passionately celebrated story, fairytale, and mythic image. She co-founded and was a guiding light for Parabola magazine for many years. Friends and colleagues celebrated her on the centennial of her birth (1899) with this Lively Oracle. These tributes, stories, interviews, and analyses of her work — all from people who knew her — recount delightful facets of one of the 20th century's most creative and memorable minds.

Table of Contents for A Lively Oracle
 

Introduction, by Ellen Dooling Draper

Part One: Biographical Notes

    Refining Nectar, by Ben Haggarty
    Ever Afterwards, by Adrian House

Part Two: Mary Poppins

    Worlds Beyond Worlds: A Critical Study of the Mary Poppins Books,
         by Jenny Koralek
    How Are They Going to Make That into A Movie? P.L. Travers, Julie Andrews, and Mary Poppins
         by Brian Sibley


Part Three: The Other Books

    Hanuman in Putney
          by James George
    About the Sleeping Beauty: The Veil Grows Transparent—
Or Does It?
         by Martha Heyneman
    A Good Gift
         by Brian Sibley

Part Four: Themes

    Exploring the Homeland of Myth: The Parabola Essays,
         by Ellen Dooling Draper
    What is the Story?
         by Paul Jordan-Smith
    A Writer Worth Her Salt: In the Editorial Kitchen with
Pamela Travers
         by Rob Baker
    Journeyer Back to Here and Now
         by Trebbe Johnson
    Mary Poppins as a Zen Monk
         by Feenie Ziner

Part Five: Conversations, Lectures, Interviews

    The First Storytellers: A Conversation, P. L. Travers and Sir Laurens van der Post
    No Forgetting
          by Jonathan Cott

    At Home with Pamela Travers: The Radcliffe Lectures
          by Philip Zaleski

Part Six: Three Articles by P.L. Travers

    I Never Wrote for Children 
   Myth, Symbol, and Tradition
    The Fairy Tale as Teacher

Afterword: Pamela Travers from A to Z, by Jenny Koralek

Contributors

Index

We learn in this fascinating collection of essays and interviews that P.L. Travers, the British creator of Mary Poppins, bristled when asked about dates and places and influences because she knew that banal facts could never convey her sense of living in the midst of a great mystery. Offering only the barest sketch of her outer life (Travers was born in Australia and became a student of the mystic G.I. Gurdjieff, W.B. Yeats, and others), this work celebrates Travers as an oracle of insights and connections that came to her because she had mastered the art and discipline of opening up to reality.  Draper, former editor of Parabola magazine (which Travers helped found), and Koralek, an English children's author and friend of Travers's, present a Travers who is not the sum of her biographical parts but a soul in question, a pilgrim on an ever-deepening journey toward an unknown home. "Perhaps we are looking for miracles," wrote Travers.  "Most certainly we are looking for meaning.  We want the fox not to eat the hare, we want the opposites reconciled." Not every piece here shines.  Reminiscences by Jim George and Paul Jordan-Smith come off as self-aggrandizing rather than illuminating.  The best entries, however, including interviews by Jonathan Cott and Sir Laurens Van der Post, and essays by Martha Heyneman and others, explore the work and mind of a woman who was seeking that place of profound connection and reconciliation we read about in fairytales, "where the fox and the hare say goodnight to each other."  This is an unusual, rewarding volume.

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