Show Less
Restricted access

Intertextuality and Psychology in P. L. Travers’ «Mary Poppins» Books


Julia Kunz

As we approach the seventieth anniversary of the first appearance of Mary Poppins, interest in P. L. Travers’ most famous creation is still strong and the time is right for a reassessment of a work that is rich in meaning for child and adult readers alike. This book attempts to analyse some of the reasons behind the longevity and the ongoing appeal of the Mary Poppins material, with particular reference to intertextuality and the presence of what Freud described as «the uncanny». By comparing and contrasting the Mary Poppins material with previous texts, it can be seen that Travers has been drawing, consciously and subconsciously, on the great myths and archetypes of the collective human storytelling experience. The idea therefore emerges that the Mary Poppins stories touch on some fundamental aspect of the psyche – an aspect where the symbiosis of security and fear, the familiar and the unknown, are made manifest to the reader, whether as children finding their way into adulthood or as adults recalling their beginnings.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access




I would like to thank:

My parents, who gave me my first copy of Mary Poppins and who let me rummage through their book shelves when I was little; Professor Grilli, whose book was a revelation and confirmed my view that there was more to Mary Poppins than meets the eye; Professor Dr. Elmar Schenkel, who was so kind to offer me the opportunity to publish this book and whose lectures and seminars on all kinds of eccentric topics I always thoroughly enjoyed; Anne Malewski, my friend and almost neighbour (had it not been for the chocolate woman), who was so kind to put her creative energy into the cover of this book; Judith Escher, without whose help this book would have been published on a papyrus scroll and who is, well, “practically perfect”, and a special friend, who proofread this book and never tired of telling me when my sentences were “too German” or when a word existed “only in Finnish”.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.