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Mary Poppins blew into town in 1934, 'plain, vain and incorruptible'. But she is a curiously timeless creature, and Marcelle Bernstein, who discovered her in middle age, found it impossible to read Mary Poppins without also reading through to her creator P.L. Travers. Beneath the magical realism of the Poppins storylines, she discerned a dark fear of abandonment.
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