A. A. Milne: Wikis

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Alan Alexander Milne
Monochrome head-and-shoulders portrait photo of A. A. Milne in coat and tie, with pipe dangling from lips
Born 18 January 1882(1882-01-18)
Kilburn, London, England
Died 31 January 1956 (aged 74)
Hartfield, Sussex, England
Occupation Novelist, playwright, poet

Alan Alexander Milne (pronounced /ˈmɪln/) (Born, 18 January 1882 – Died, 31 January 1956) was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various children's poems. Milne was a noted writer, primarily as a playwright, before the huge success of Pooh overshadowed all his previous work.

Contents

Life

A. A. Milne was born in Kilburn, London, England to parents John Vine Milne and Sarah Maria (née Heginbotham) and grew up at Henley House School, 6/7 Mortimer Road (now Crescent), Kilburn, London, a small independent school run by his father.[1] One of his teachers was H. G. Wells who taught there in 1889–90.[2] Milne attended Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge,[3] where he studied on a mathematics scholarship. While there, he edited and wrote for Granta, a student magazine.[1] He collaborated with his brother Kenneth and their articles appeared over the initials AKM. Milne's work came to the attention of the leading British humour magazine Punch, where Milne was to become a contributor and later an assistant editor.

Milne joined the British Army in World War I and served as an officer in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and later, after a debilitating illness, the Royal Corps of Signals. After the war, he wrote a denunciation of war titled Peace with Honour (1934), which he retracted somewhat with 1940's War with Honour.[1][4] During World War II, Milne was one of the most prominent critics of English humour writer P. G. Wodehouse, who was captured at his country home in France by the Nazis and imprisoned for a year. Wodehouse made radio broadcasts about his internment, which were broadcast from Berlin. Although the lighthearted broadcasts made fun of the Germans, Milne accused Wodehouse of committing an act of near treason by cooperating with his country's enemy. Wodehouse got some revenge on his former friend by creating fatuous parodies of the Christopher Robin poems in some of his later stories, and claiming that Milne "was probably jealous of all other writers.... But I loved his stuff."[5]

He married Dorothy "Daphne" de Sélincourt in 1913, and their only son, Christopher Robin Milne, was born in 1920. In 1925, A. A. Milne bought a country home, Cotchford Farm, in Hartfield, East Sussex.[6] During World War II, A. A. Milne was Captain of the Home Guard in Hartfield & Forest Row, insisting on being plain 'Mr. Milne' to the members of his platoon. He retired to the farm after a stroke and brain surgery in 1952 left him an invalid and by August 1953 "he seemed very old and disenchanted".[7]

Literary career

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1903 to 1925

After graduating from Cambridge in 1903, A. A. Milne contributed humorous verse and whimsical essays to the British humour magazine Punch,[8][9] joining the staff in 1906 and becoming an assistant editor.[10]

During this period he published 18 plays and 3 novels, including the murder mystery The Red House Mystery (1922). His son was born in August 1920 and in 1924 Milne produced a collection of children's poems When We Were Very Young, which were illustrated by Punch staff cartoonist E. H. Shepard. A collection of short stories for children Gallery of Children, and other stories that became part of the Winnie-the-Pooh books, were first published in 1925.

Looking back on this period (in 1926) Milne observed that when he told his agent that he was going to write a detective story, he was told that what the country wanted from a "Punch humorist" was a humorous story; when two years later he said he was writing nursery rhymes, his agent and publisher were convinced he should write another detective story; and after another two years he was being told that writing a detective story would be in the worst of taste given the demand for children's books. He concluded that "the only excuse which I have yet discovered for writing anything is that I want to write it; and I should be as proud to be delivered of a Telephone Directory con amore as I should be ashamed to create a Blank Verse Tragedy at the bidding of others."[11]

1926 to 1928

The real stuffed toys owned by Christopher Robin Milne and featured in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. They are on display in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (formerly the New York Public Library Main Branch) in New York.

Milne is most famous for his two Pooh books about a boy named Christopher Robin after his son, and various characters inspired by his son's stuffed animals, most notably the bear named Winnie-the-Pooh. Christopher Robin Milne's stuffed bear, originally named "Edward",[12] was renamed "Winnie-the-Pooh" after a Canadian black bear named Winnie (after Winnipeg), which was used as a military mascot in World War I, and left to London Zoo during the war. "The pooh" comes from a swan called "Pooh". E. H. Shepard illustrated the original Pooh books, using his own son's teddy, Growler ("a magnificent bear"), as the model. Christopher Robin Milne's own toys are now under glass in New York.

Winnie-the-Pooh was published in 1926, followed by The House at Pooh Corner in 1928. A second collection of nursery rhymes, Now We Are Six, was published in 1927. All three books were illustrated by E. H. Shepard. Milne also published four plays in this period. He also "gallantly stepped forward" to contribute a quarter of the costs of dramatising P. G. Wodehouse's A Damsel in Distress.[13]

1929 onwards

The success of his children's books was to become a source of considerable annoyance to Milne, whose self-avowed aim was to write whatever he pleased and who had, until then, found a ready audience for each change of direction: he had freed pre-war Punch from its ponderous facetiousness; he had made a considerable reputation as a playwright (like his idol J. M. Barrie) on both sides of the Atlantic; he had produced a witty piece of detective writing in The Red House Mystery (although this was severely criticised by Raymond Chandler for the implausibility of its plot). But once Milne had, in his own words, "said goodbye to all that in 70,000 words" (the approximate length of his four principal children's books), he had no intention of producing any reworkings lacking in originality, given that one of the sources of inspiration, his son, was growing older.

His reception remained warmer in America than Britain, and he continued to publish novels and short stories, but by the late 1930s the audience for Milne's grown-up writing had largely vanished: he observed bitterly in his autobiography that a critic had said that the hero of his latest play ("God help it") was simply "Christopher Robin grown up...what an obsession with me children are become!".

Even his old literary home, Punch, where the When We Were Very Young verses had first appeared, was ultimately to reject him, as Christopher Milne details in his autobiography The Enchanted Places, although Methuen continued to publish whatever Milne wrote, including the long poem 'The Norman Church' and an assembly of articles entitled Year In, Year Out (which Milne likened to a benefit night for the author).

He also adapted Kenneth Grahame's novel The Wind in the Willows for the stage as Toad of Toad Hall. The title was an implicit admission that such chapters as Chapter 7, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn", could not survive translation to the theatre.[citation needed] A special introduction written by Milne is included in some editions of Grahame's novel.

Several of Milne's children's poems were set to music by the composer Harold Fraser-Simson. His poems have been parodied many times, including with the books When We Were Rather Older and Now We Are Sixty.

After Milne's death, his widow sold the rights to the Pooh characters to the Walt Disney Company, which has made many Pooh cartoon movies, a Disney Channel television show, as well as thousands of Pooh-related merchandise and millions of adoring fans.

Royalties from the Pooh characters paid by Disney to the Royal Literary Fund, part-owner of the Pooh copyright, provide the income used to run the Fund's Fellowship Scheme, placing professional writers in U.K. universities.

Religious views

Milne did not speak out much on the subject of religion, although he used religious terms to explain his decision, while remaining a pacifist, to join the army: "In fighting Hitler", he wrote, "we are truly fighting the Devil, the Anti-Christ...Hitler was a crusader against God."[14] His best known comment on the subject was recalled on his death:

"The Old Testament is responsible for more atheism, agnosticism, disbelief — call it what you will — than any book ever written; it has emptied more churches than all the counterattractions of cinema, motor bicycle and golf course." [15]

Works

Novels

  • Lovers in London (1905) (Some consider this more of a short story collection; Milne didn't like it and considered The Day's Play as his first book.)
  • Once on a Time (1917)
  • Mr. Pim (1921) (A novelisation of his play Mr. Pim Passes By (1919))
  • The Red House Mystery (1922)
  • Two People (1931) (Inside jacket claims this is Milne's first attempt at a novel.)
  • Four Days' Wonder (1933)
  • Chloe Marr (1946)

Non-fiction

  • Peace With Honour (1934)
  • It's Too Late Now: The Autobiography of a Writer (1939)
  • War With Honour (1940)
  • Year In, Year Out (1952) (illustrated by E. H. Shepard)

Punch articles

  • The Day's Play (1910)
  • Once a Week (1914)
  • The Holiday Round (1912)
  • The Sunny Side (1921)
  • Those Were the Days (1929) [The four volumes above, compiled]

Selections of newspaper articles and introductions to books by others

  • The Chronicles of Clovis by "Saki" (1911) [Introduction to]
  • Not That It Matters (1920)
  • By Way of Introduction (1929)

Story collections for children

Story collections

  • A Table Near the Band (1950)

Poetry

  • For the Luncheon Interval [poems from Punch]
  • When We Were Very Young (1924) (illustrated by E. H. Shepard)
  • Now We Are Six (1927) (illustrated by E. H. Shepard)
  • Behind the Lines (1940)
  • The Norman Church (1948)
  • 'The Kings Breakfast'

Plays

Milne wrote over 25 plays, including:

  • Wurzel-Flummery (1917)
  • Belinda (1918)
  • The Boy Comes Home (1918)
  • Make-Believe (1918) (children's play)
  • The Camberley Triangle (1919)
  • Mr. Pim Passes By (1919)
  • The Red Feathers (1920)
  • The Romantic Age (1920)
  • The Stepmother (1920)
  • The Truth about Blayds (1920)
  • The Dover Road (1921)
  • The Lucky One (1922)
  • The Artist: A Duologue (1923)
  • Give Me Yesterday (1923) (a.k.a. Success in the U.K.)
  • The Great Broxopp (1923)
  • Ariadne (1924)
  • The Man in the Bowler Hat: A Terribly Exciting Affair (1924)
  • To Have the Honour (1924)
  • Portrait of a Gentleman in Slippers (1926)
  • Success (1926)
  • Miss Marlow at Play (1927)
  • The Fourth Wall or The Perfect Alibi (1928)
  • The Ivory Door (1929)
  • Toad of Toad Hall (1929) (adaptation of The Wind in the Willows)
  • Michael and Mary (1930)
  • Other People's Lives (1933) (a.k.a. They Don't Mean Any Harm)
  • Miss Elizabeth Bennet (1936) [based on Pride and Prejudice]
  • Sarah Simple (1937)
  • Gentleman Unknown (1938)
  • The General Takes Off His Helmet (1939) in The Queen's Book of the Red Cross
  • The Ugly Duckling (1946)
  • Before the Flood (1951)

Films

Michael and Mary was adapted to cinema in 1931.

References

  1. ^ a b c Thwaite, Ann (January 2008). "Milne, Alan Alexander (1882–1956)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/35031. 
  2. ^ "Hampstead: Education". A History of the County of Middlesex 9: 159–169. 1989. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=22657. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  3. ^ Milne, Alan Alexander in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  4. ^ Capitalization as in the British Library Catalogue
  5. ^ "The Art of Fiction - P.G. Wodehouse" (pdf). The Paris Review. 2005. pp. 18. http://www.theparisreview.com/media/3773_WODEHOUSE.pdf. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  6. ^ "Cotchford Farm". National Monument Records. English Heritage. http://pastscape.english-heritage.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=618520#. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  7. ^ "Letter La Z 5/7/17 - John Middleton Murry to Beatrice Elvery". George Lazarus Collection. 1953-08-12. http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/lss/services/mss/collections/online-mss-catalogues/cats/laz4-5cat.html#laz57. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  8. ^ Milne, A. A. (August 1904). "Lillian's Loves". Punch, or the London Charivari 127 (24 August 1904): 142. 
  9. ^ Milne, A. A. (November 1904). "Answers to [Fictional] Correspondents". Punch, or the London Charivari 127 (9 November 1904): 333. 
  10. ^ "A.A.Milne". Encyclopedia Britannica Online. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9052746/AA-Milne. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  11. ^ Milne, Alan Alexander (1926) [1922]. "Introduction (dated April 1926)". The Red House Mystery. London: Methuen. pp. ix-xii. 
  12. ^ Winnie-the-Pooh at the New York Public Library
  13. ^ Letter from P. G. Wodehouse dated 26 July 1928 at page 114 in P.G. Wodehouse: A Portrait of a Master by David A. Jasen (2002). ISBN 0825672759.
  14. ^ Milne, Alan Alexander (1940). War with Honour. London: Macmillan. pp. 16–17. 
  15. ^ Simpson, James B. (1988). Simpson's Contemporary Quotations. Boston MA: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-39543-085-2. http://www.bartleby.com/63/93/4393.html. 

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Alan Alexander Milne (18 January 188231 January 1956) was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various children's poems.

Contents

Sourced

When We Were Very Young (1924)

  • They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
    Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
    They've great big parties inside the grounds.
    "I wouldn't be king for a hundred pounds",
    Says Alice.
  • James James
    Morrison Morrison
    Weatherby George Dupree
    Took great care of his mother
    Though he was only three.
    James James said to his mother
    Mother he said, said he:
    You mustn't go down to the end of the town if you don't go down with me.
    James James Morrison's Mother
    Put on a golden gown.
    James James Morrison's Mother
    Went to the end of the town
    James James Morrison's Mother
    Said to herself, said she:
    I can go right down to the end of the town and be back in time for tea!

Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)

Time for something sweet...
  • "If there's a buzzing-noise, somebody's making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you're a bee."
    Then he thought another long time, and said: "And the only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey."
    And then he got up, and said: "And the only reason for making honey is so as I can eat it." So he began to climb the tree.
    • Chapter One - Pooh
  • Pooh always liked a little something at eleven o'clock in the morning, and he was very glad to see Rabbit getting out the plates and mugs; and when Rabbit said, "Honey or condensed milk with your bread?" he was so excited that he said, "Both," and then, so as not to seem greedy, he added, "But don't bother about the bread, please."
    • Chapter Two
  • "What?" said Piglet, with a jump. And then, to show that he hadn't been frightened, he jumped up and down once or twice more in an exercising sort of way.
    • Chapter Three
  • "I have been Foolish and Deluded," said he, "and I am a Bear of No Brain at All."
    • Chapter Three - Pooh
  • These notices had been written by Christopher Robin, who was the only one in the forest who could spell; for Owl, wise though he was in many ways, able to read and write and spell his own name WOL, yet somehow went all to pieces over delicate words like MEASLES and BUTTEREDTOAST.
    • Chapter Four
  • "I'm giving this to Eeyore," he explained, "as a present. What are you going to give?"
    "Couldn't I give it too?" said Piglet. "From both of us?"
    "No," said Pooh. "That would not be a good plan."
    • Chapter Six
  • It was just as if somebody inside him were saying, "Now then, Pooh, time for a little something."
    • Chapter Six
  • "Because my spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places."
    • Chapter Six - Pooh
  • "It is hard to be brave," said Piglet, sniffing slightly, "when you're only a Very Small Animal."
    • Chapter Seven
  • Owl was telling Kanga an Interesting Anecdote full of long words like Encyclopædia and Rhododendron to which Kanga wasn't listening.
    • Chapter Eight
  • "It's a little Anxious," he said to himself, "to be a Very Small Animal Entirely Surrounded by Water."
    • Chapter Nine - Piglet
  • Kanga said to Roo, "Drink up your milk first, dear, and talk afterwards." So Roo, who was drinking his milk, tried to say that he could do both at once . . . and had to be patted on the back and dried for quite a long time afterwards.
    • Chapter Ten
  • "H–hup!" said Roo accidentally.
    "Roo, dear!" said Kanga reproachfully.
    "Was it me?" asked Roo, a little surprised.
  • Chapter Ten
  • "And how are you?", said Winnie-the-Pooh. (...)
    "Not very how", he said. "I don't seem to have felt at all how for a long time."
  • Cottleston, cottleston, cottleston pie,
    A fly can't bird, but a bird can fly.
    Ask me a riddle and I reply,
    Cottleston, cottleston, cottleston pie.
  • "Good morning, Pooh Bear", said Eeyore gloomily. "If it is a good morning", he said. "Which I doubt", said he.
  • Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin.
  • How sweet to be a cloud
    Floating in the blue
  • "Hello Rabbit, is that you?"
    "Let's pretend it isn't", said Rabbit, "and see what happens."
  • Isn't it funny
    How a bear likes honey?
    Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
    I wonder why he does?
  • There are some people who begin the Zoo at the beginning, called WAYIN, and walk as quickly as they can past every cage until they get to the one called WAYOUT, but the nicest people go straight to the animal they love the most, and stay there.
  • We can't all and some of us don't. That's all there is to it.
    • -Eeyore

Now We are Six (1927)

  • When I was One,
    I had just begun.
    When I was Two,
    I was nearly new.
    When I was Three
    I was hardly me.
    When I was Four,
    I was not much more.
    When I was Five,
    I was just alive.
    But now I am Six,
    I'm as clever as clever,
    So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.
    • The End
  • I found a little beetle, so that beetle was his name,
    And I called him Alexander and he answered just the same.
    I put him in a matchbox, and I kept him all the day...

    And Nanny let my beetle out
    Yes, Nanny let my beetle out
    She went and let my beetle out-
    And beetle ran away.

    She said she didn't mean it, and I never said she did,
    She said she wanted matches, and she just took off the lid
    She said that she was sorry, but it's difficult to catch
    An excited sort of beetle you've mistaken for a match.

    She said that she was sorry, and I really mustn't mind
    As there's lots and lots of beetles which she's certain we could find
    If we looked about the garden for the holes where beetles hid-
    And we'd get another matchbox, and write BEETLE on the lid.

    We went to all the places which a beetle might be near,
    And we made the sort of noises which a beetle likes to hear,
    And I saw a kind of something, and I gave a sort of shout:
    "A beetle-house and Alexander Beetle coming out!"

    It was Alexander Beetle I'm as certain as can be
    And he had a sort of look as if he thought it might be ME,
    And he had a kind of look as if he thought he ought to say:
    "I'm very, very sorry that I tried to run away."

    And Nanny's very sorry too, for you know what she did,
    And she's writing ALEXANDER very blackly on the lid,
    So Nan and me are friends, because it's difficult to catch
    An excited Alexander you've mistaken for a match.

    • Forgiven (affectionately also known as Alexander Beetle)

The House at Pooh Corner (1928)

  • When we asked Pooh what the opposite of an Introduction was, he said "The what of a what?" which didn't help us as much as we had hoped, but luckily Owl kept his head and told us that the Opposite of an Introduction, my dear Pooh, was a Contradiction; and, as he is very good at long words, I am sure that that's what it is.
    • Contradiction
  • The more he looked inside the more Piglet wasn't there.
    • Chapter One - Pooh
  • "Nearly eleven o'clock," said Pooh happily. "You're just in time for a little smackerel of something."
    • Chapter One
  • "Shall I look too?" said Pooh, who was beginning to feel a little eleven o'clockish. And he found a small tin of condensed milk, and something seemed to tell him that Tiggers didn't like this, so he took it into a corner by itself, and went with it to see that nobody interrupted it.
    • Chapter Two
  • Pooh said good-bye affectionately to his fourteen pots of honey, and hoped they were fifteen; and he and Rabbit went out into the Forest.
    • Chapter Three
  • Piglet looked up, and looked away again. And he felt so Foolish and Uncomfortable that he had almost decided to run away to Sea and be a Sailor, when suddenly he saw something.
    • Chapter Three
  • One day when Pooh was thinking, he thought he would go and see Eeyore, because he hadn't seen him since yesterday.
    • Chapter Four
  • Now it happened that Kanga had felt rather motherly that morning, and Wanting to Count Things — like Roo's vests, and how many pieces of soap there were left, and the two clean spots in Tigger's feeder.
    • Chapter Four
  • "Yes," said Tigger, "they're very good flyers, Tiggers are. Strornry good flyers."
    • Chapter Four
  • Piglet took Pooh's arm, in case Pooh was frightened.
    • Chapter Four
  • "And he respects Owl, because you can't help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn't spell it right; but spelling isn't everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn't count."
    • Chapter Five - Rabbit, speaking of Christopher Robin
  • Owl took Christopher Robin's notice from Rabbit and looked at it nervously. He could spell his own name WOL, and he could spell Tuesday so that you knew it wasn't Wednesday, and he could read quite comfortably when you weren't looking over his shoulder and saying "Well?" all the time, and he could—
    • Chapter Five
  • "I've got a sort of idea," said Pooh at last, "but I don't suppose it's a very good one."
    "I don't suppose it is either," said Eeyore.
    • Chapter Six
  • Pooh looked at his two paws. He knew that one of them was the right, and he knew that when you had decided which one of them was the right, then the other one was the left, but he never could remember how to begin.
    • Chapter Seven
  • "Lucky we know the forest so well, or we might get lost," said Rabbit half an hour later, and he gave the careless laugh which you give when you know the Forest so well that you can't get lost.
    • Chapter Seven
  • ...and then he and Roo pushed each other about in a friendly way, and Tigger accidentally knocked over one or two chairs by accident, and Roo accidentally knocked over one on purpose, and Kanga said, "Now then, run along."
    • Chapter Seven
  • "You only blinched inside," said Pooh, "and that's the bravest way for a Very Small Animal not to blinch that there is."
    • Chapter Nine
  • "Well," said Pooh, "what I like best—" and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.
    • Chapter Ten
  • "I'm not going to do nothing anymore."
    "Never again?"
    "Well, not so much. They don't let you."
  • "I shouldn't be surprised if it hailed a good deal tomorrow", Eeyore was saying. "Blizzards and what-not. Being fine today doesn't mean anything. It has no sig - what's that word? Well, it has none of that. It's just a small piece of wheather."
  • If I plant a honeycomb outside my house, then it will grow up into a beehive.
  • So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest a little boy and his bear will always be playing.
  • "That's what Jagulars always do", said Pooh, much interested. "They call 'Help! Help!' and then when you look up, they drop on you."
  • "They wanted to come in after the pounds", explained Pooh, "so I let them. It's the best way to write poetry, letting things come."

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