Part I. Ralph Waldo Emerson In an essay published in 1841, Emerson addressed one of the central characteristics of the American sensibility: individualism. Before you read, take a moment to….
He is creator of one the world’s most beloved characters, he is the author of our childhood’s favorite stories, he is A. A Milne. A. A. Milne is the author of the popular and cherished Winnie the Pooh stories. Anyone who is young, or young at heart can gravitate to the stories that have brought joy to our hearts for nearly a century. Milne’s life is not only enlightening, but discovering the true inspirations, accomplishments and triumphs behind his extraordinary tales will change how you read them forever. Before he became the famous author he is today, Milne lived a rather normal and quiet life.
Milne was born to Sarah and John Milne in Hampstead, London on January 18th 1882 . For most of his childhood and young adulthood, Milne resided in the school his father ran, the Henley house, which he also attended as a child (just-pooh). As a boy, Milne was a rather bright student who learned to read and write before the age of five (Wheeler). Milne’s extraordinary grades in Mathematics, and especially Writing, got him numerous scholarships to many different universities such as Cambridge. Although Milne always aspired to be a writer, on of his inspirations was the famous H. G Wells who became his teacher and Mentor (poohcorner). The more he learned from Wells, the more Milne aspired to be a writer. It is certain that without the encouraging words and teachings from his mentor, Milne would not be the same, remarkable author he became. Though Milne garnered encouragement and knowledge from Well’s unique teaching styles there was another source of inspiration that was beyond just encouraging words, this source of inspiration shaped A. A. Milne’s career into what we know and still praise him for today.
In 1913, Milne married Dorothy Daphne de Selincourt, together they had a gregarious, effervescent son named Christopher Robin Milne. (winniethepohh). From the day of his birth, Christopher served as his father’s main source of inspiration; Milne wrote poems for him that later became his book When We Were Very young (1924), and most importantly, he and his toys became inspirations for Milne’s now most famous, Winnie the Pooh Series. All written between 1926 and 1928, Milne’s fulgent and quip filled books launched his career and today are his most read, appraised and notable works (justpooh).
These unique and charming tales would change Milne’s life forever. Although there is no recorded evidence of Milne receiving any notable awards for his stories , it is certain he regaled many gracious acknowledgements, un-matching success all thanks to his loyal fans. Milne’s gained many fans for his poems, plays and especially Pooh novels that only increased, when his wife Dorothy sold the rights to Pooh to Disney after his death (wheeler). Although most of his fans were and are children, many adults have enjoyed his plays and even original Pooh books for their inspirational themes and striking, quirky story lines.
As I read A. A milne’s poems and stories I recognised two, distinct, recurring themes; embracing individuality and the the importance of problem of solving. Unfortunately, Milne never discussed the themes found in his stories and their personal importance, nor if he purposely added them into his works. Although Milne’s thoughts regarding his themes are uncertain, something that is certain is, no matter what story or poem is read, Milne’s works will leave the reader with a sense of joy and satisfaction, that will leave anyone wanting to apply his recurring themes into everyday life.
Although Milne happens to be one of my favorite authors, I recently discovered things I previously did not know about him through my research. Because Winnie the Pooh was such a big part of my childhood, and that of many of my peers, I was surprised to find, he lived and wrote all his works in England during the 20’s and up until his death in 1956. I was also surprised to find Milne was in the English Royal Army, and participated in World War II.
Although there were a lot of social and political situations occurring at the time such as the Great Depression and the War, I found it unusual that none of these events influenced his literary process(poohcorner). Milne rather focused on the joys of childhood and teaching kids, and adults, the key to a happy future through his themes. Another extraordinary fact is, all of of the elements of his Pooh books were inspired by a personal aspect in his life. The characters were all based on his son’s toys and the place where his Pooh books took place was based off his sylvan family home in Sussex, England (kidsreads).
Without Milne works it is easy to conclude children’s literature would not be the same. In my opinion, A. A Milne, through his writing, inspired countless authors and raised the canon to what is now, modern children’s literature. He has brought joy to countless people and his scintillating stories are timeless. A . A Milne plays an important role in not only our childhood but that of our parents and future children and grandchildren. Milne, in my eyes, can easily stand aside the greatest authors of our time and in the hearts of individuals around the world.