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A. A. Milne
A. A. Milne in 1922
A. A. Milne in 1922
Born Alan Alexander Milne
(1882-01-18)18 January 1882
Kilburn, London, England
Died 31 January 1956(1956-01-31) (aged 74)
Hartfield, Sussex, England
Occupation Novelist, playwright, poet
Nationality British
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
Period Edwardian era
Genre Children's literature
Notable works Winnie-the-Pooh
Spouse Dorothy "Daphne" de Sélincourt (m. 1913)
Children Christopher Robin Milne

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Alan Alexander Milne ( January 18, 1882 – January 31, 1956) was an English author. He was best known for his books about the delightful teddy bear Winnie the Pooh and for many poems.

Milne served in both World Wars. He joined the British Army in World War I and was a captain of the British Home Guard in World War II.

Milne's son, Christopher Robin, was the inspiration of the character that had the same name in his Winnie the Pooh books.

Milne retired to his farm after a stroke and brain surgery in 1952 left him paralyzed. He died on January 31, 1956, at age 74.

Biography

A. A. Milne with his son Christopher Robin Milne and Pooh Bear - Howard Coster - NPG P715
Milne with his son Christopher Robin and Pooh Bear, at Cotchford Farm, their home in Sussex. Photo by Howard Coster, 1926.
The original Winnie the Pooh toys
The real stuffed toys owned by Christopher Robin Milne and featured in the Winnie the Pooh stories. They are on display in the New York Public Library Main Branch in New York. Missing is Roo, who was lost when Christopher Robin was 9.

Milne was born in Scotland but raised in London. One of his childhood teachers was H. G. Wells. Milne attended Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge where he studied on a mathematics scholarship.

Beginning in 1906, Milne wrote for the humorous British magazine Punch. He later became an assistant editor for Punch.

He joined the British army during World War I, but after the war, he publicly condemned war when he wrote "Peace with Honour" (1934). He later somewhat retracted it near the beginning of World War II when he wrote "War with Honour" in 1940.

Harry Colebourne and Winnie
Harry Colebourn and Winnie, the bear from which Winnie the Pooh derives his name

After Milne returned home from World War I, his son, Christopher Robin Milne, was born in 1920. Milne's Pooh books feature a boy named Christopher Robin, after his son, and various characters inspired by his son's stuffed animals. The most famous of these was the bear named Winnie the Pooh. A Canadian black bear named Winnie (Winnipeg), used as a military mascot and left to London Zoo after the war, is said to have been the source of the name for Milne's most famous character. The Hundred Acre Wood was inspired by Ashdown Forest in Sussex. E. H. Shepard illustrated the original Pooh books.

In 1925, Milne bought a country home, Cotchford Farm in Hartfield, East Sussex. This farm is where he retired to after brain surgery in 1952 left him an invalid. After Milne's death, rights to the Pooh characters were sold to the Walt Disney Company, which has made a number of Pooh cartoon movies, as well as a large amount of Pooh-related merchandise.

Milne also wrote a number of poems, including "Vespers", "They're Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace", and "King John's Christmas", which were published in the books When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. His poems have been parodied many times, including in the book Now We Are Sixty.

He also adapted (changed) Kenneth Grahame's novel The Wind in the Willows for the stage as Toad of Toad Hall.

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 Passes By, (1921)
  • The Red House Mystery, (1921)

Non-Fiction

  • Peace with Honour, (1934)
  • It's Too Late Now, (1939) (autobiography)
  • War with Honour, (1940)
  • Year In, Year Out, (1952)

Story Collections

  • The Day's Play, (1910)
  • At Play, (1912)
  • Once a Week, (1914)
  • The Holiday Round, (1912)
  • The Sunny Side, (1921)
  • Gallery of Children, (1925)
  • Winnie the Pooh, (1926)
  • The House at Pooh Corner, (1928)
  • Those Were the Days, (1929)

Poetry

Plays

Milne wrote over 25 plays including:

  • Worzel-Flummery, (1917)
  • Belinda, (1918)
  • The Boy Comes Home, (1918)
  • Make-Believe, (1918)
  • 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)
  • The Great Broxopp Success, (1923)
  • Ariadne, (1924)
  • The Man in the Bowler Hat, (1924)
  • To Have the Honour, (1924)
  • Portrait of a Gentleman in Slippers, (1926)
  • Success; a play in three acts, (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)
  • Four Days Wonder, (1933)
  • Other People's Lives, (1933)
  • Miss Elizabeth Bennett (based on Pride and Prejudice), (1936)
  • Sarah Simple, (1937)
  • Gentleman Unknown, (1938)
  • The Ugly Duckling based on the Hans Christian Andersen story, (1941)
  • Before the Flood, (1951)
  • Michael and Mary

The play The Fourth Wall was made into a film called The Perfect Alibi.

Interesting Facts about A.A. Milne

  • The A.A. stands for Alan Alexander.
  • A.A. Milne graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, with a B.A. in Mathematics.
  • J.M. Barrie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle played cricket with Milne.
  • His most famous character, Winnie the Pooh, first appeared in the poem, "Teddy Bear" which was published in Punch magazine in 1924.
  • Hundred Acre Wood was inspired by a real forest in Sussex called Ashdown Forest.
  • Eeyore, one of Christopher Robin's toys (which inspired the characters in the story), lost some stuffing after much play, and his head began to droop. It is thought that this accounts for Eeyore's melancholy personality in the stories.
  • Milne's son, Christopher Robin was bullied at school about the book series and took boxing classes in order to defend himself.
  • A.A. Milne usually saw his son, formally, three times a day. A nanny raised Christopher Robin, which was the custom at the time.

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