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A. A. Milne: His Life

Overview

A.A. Milne is one of the most successful English writers ever. Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Tigger and Piglet have become some of the best-loved children's characters of all time, and readers the world over are familiar with the stories from the Hundred Acre Wood. Yet the man himself has remained an enigma. Although in many ways his behaviour was that of a typical golf-playing, pipe-smoking Englishman, Milne refused to be typecast, and his publishers despaired when he turned from writing popular ...
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Overview

A.A. Milne is one of the most successful English writers ever. Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Tigger and Piglet have become some of the best-loved children's characters of all time, and readers the world over are familiar with the stories from the Hundred Acre Wood. Yet the man himself has remained an enigma. Although in many ways his behaviour was that of a typical golf-playing, pipe-smoking Englishman, Milne refused to be typecast, and his publishers despaired when he turned from writing popular columns for Punch to writing detective stories. They complained again when the detective writer presented them with a set of children's verse, but when When We Were Very Young became one of the best-selling books of all time, Milne's credibility as one of the world's favourite authors was sealed. And yet for his son Christopher Robin, the success of his father was to be an almost intolerable burden.

In this prize-winning classic biography, Ann Thwaite reveals the man behind Pooh in all his complexity, including his experiences at the Somme in 1916 and his relationship with other writers: H.G. Wells, P.G. Wodehouse and J.M. Barrie. She constructs a vivid and poignant portrayal of the inscrutable man and his stories, which earned so much devotion among readers that, eighty years after their creation, this portrait of their creator remains a must for followers of Pooh - whatever their age.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this overly detailed life of Alan Alexander Milne (1882-1956), Thwaite ( Edmund Gosse ) chronicles the British writer's childhood, spent with devoted parents and his two older brothers; his schooling under his father, a progressive headmaster; the fame and frustrations that attended his early adulthood. The book includes quotes from the memoirs of Milne's son Christopher, H. G. Wells, P. G. Wodehouse and other contemporaries, both friends and critics. Milne was a successful playwright when, during the 1920s, he created the Pooh books, international bestsellers. Bitter over waning interest in his adult works, he resented the popularity of his tender, witty children's classics. Thwaite emphasizes Milne's touchiness, among other of his character traits, as she describes this uniquely gifted writer's changing relationships with family members. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Library Journal
The man behind Winnie-the-Pooh was a humorist, Punch editor, light versifier, and above all a playwright. Milne had a brief but very successful and prolific career as a dramatist before settling reluctantly for Pooh's glory. For this first Milne biography, Thwaite draws on both Milne's and his son Christopher Robin's memoirs, but also on unpublished letters and family memories, depicting his happy childhood, solidly middle-class background, ardent pacifism, and complex relations (obscured by an ingrained reticence) with his wife and son. Although the children's books play only a small (but central) role in this biography, their publishing history, reception, and critical evaluation are neatly summarized. There is just enough history to set Milne's work in its context. Sadly, Milne's charmed life eventually gave way to disappointment, but this even-tempered and readable biography will not disappoint.--Patricia Dooley, Univ. of Washington Lib. Sch., Seattle
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780752440859
  • Publisher: Tempus Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations     6
Introduction     7
'I can do it'     13
His Father's Pupil     29
Westminster     51
Cambridge     75
Freelance     97
Punch     115
Marriage and War     141
France and the First Plays     156
Playwright     172
The Arrival of Billy Moon     182
When We Were Very Young     195
The Beginnings of Pooh     224
Winnie-the-Pooh     240
The End of a Chapter     263
Toad of Toad Hall and America     287
The Thirties     305
Hitler's War     337
The Last Years     374
A. A. Milne: A Selected Bibliography     399
Acknowledgements and Sources     403
About the Author     407
Abbreviations used in Index     408
Index     409
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