1st Edition

Myth, Symbol, and Meaning in Mary Poppins

By Giorgia Grilli Copyright 2007
    224 Pages
    by Routledge

    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Mary Poppins that many people know of today--a stern, but sweet, loveable, and reassuring British nanny--is a far cry from the character created by Pamela Lyndon Travers in the 1930's. Instead, this is the Mary Poppins reinvented by Disney in the eponymous movie. This book sheds light on the original Mary Poppins,

    Myth, Symbol, and Meaning in Mary Poppins is the only full-length study that covers all the Mary Poppins books, exposing just how subversive the pre-Disney Mary Poppins character truly was.  Drawing important parallels between the character and the life of her creator, who worked as a governess herself, Grilli reveals the ways in which Mary Poppins came to unsettle the rigid and rigorous rules of Victorian and Edwardian society that most governesses embodied, taught, and passed on to their charges.

    Foreword by Neil Gaiman Preface 1. The Strangely Familiar Mary Poppins - The Mary Poppins Books - The Narrative Structure - Mary Poppins' Ambiguity - The Wonderful Real World 2. Pamela Lyndon Travers 3. Thematic Continuity of Mary Poppins - Liminal Figures and the Threshold - The Shaman - The Dandy - The Trickster - Dyonisus and the Bacchae - Liberated Bodies: The Dance - Italo Calvino and the Concept of Lightness - The Primitive Vision of the World: The Maternal Right - A Child-Like Vision of the World: The Pre-oedipal Phase - The Path of Desire - Mary Poppins and Husserl: Intentional Consciousness 4. The Governess at the Door - The Governess As Institution - The Advent of the Governess: a) The Law of Order (The Unspoiled Children) b) The Threat of Disorder (The Stolen Children) - The Governess and the Mother: Aspects of Victorian-Edwardian Sexuality - Manners - Teratology and the Governess - The Governess as Bulwark of Bourgeios Values - The Governess as Threshold Figure - Inevitable Contradictions - Fortunate Contradictions   Endnotes Bibliography Index


    Giorgia Grilli teaches children's literature at the University of Bologna. She has published four books on children's literature in Italian.