This is the autobiography of A A Milne, and is part of my side project to experience a little more of the work of the man who created Winnie-the-Pooh.
Those four books represent a very tiny part of Milne's output and are covered by barely two or three paragraphs in his story, but he did them, enjoyed them and moved on to other things. It's refreshing to find that he wasn't so commercially driven as people are today. Although a contract of £2000 for a book publication in the USA was actually a very large sum in the 1920s.....
The Pooh books succeed because they are real, based on real life experiences and people and places and toys. Pooh really was a small teddy bear, as were all the other animals, with the exception of Owl and Rabbit, who were made up. The places were real, such as "Poohsticks Bridge" and even Galleon's lap (Gill's Lap on the OS map). Christopher Robin was also real and his own autobiography "The Enchanted Places" is well worth a read. In contract, Disney's approach seems so utterly shallow.
Writer's in Milne's day lived life and experienced things we can only speculate about. Milne himself led a charmed existence on the Somme in the 1914-1918 Great War, was a member of the exclusive Table at Punch magazine, wrote novels, plays, short stories and poetry. And did very well at it all. His friends included such literary greats as H G Wells.
Reading Milne today is less accessible and some effort is needed to absorb the feel of the early 20th Century psyche. Given that, he is a craftsman and a great writer. The best place for modern readers to dip into this is his one whodunit "The Red House Mystery" which is entertaining and intriguing. I'm surprised there has been no film made of it as it evokes the same world as Agatha Christie, arguably as well or better. But having written one such novel, Milne had done it and moved on.....
My battered copy of this book came from eBay and others are quite hard to find, but, as with all these projects, there's no rush, just as the books themselves encourage that gentle lethargy of things happening in their own good time.
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