A. A. Milne Additional Biography

Biography

Alan Alexander Milne, born in London on January 18, 1882, was the youngest son of John Vine Milne, the headmaster of Henley House, an exclusive school for boys. Milne won a scholarship to Westminster School, where he started to write light verse for the school magazine. Eventually, Milne went to Trinity College, Cambridge, to study mathematics; his attention, however, was diverted toward literary pursuits as he became editor of Granta, the college’s literary magazine. Although he was graduated with honors and received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics, he failed to meet his father’s expectations. Using part of his inheritance, he went to London to earn a living as a freelance journalist, publishing articles in Vanity Fair and Punch. After one year, he had exhausted his funds and earned only twenty pounds. Eventually, he started writing for Punch, Great Britain’s leading satirical journal, and in 1906, he became assistant editor, a position he held until the beginning of World War I. In 1913, he married Dorothy de Sélincourt (because, he said, she had laughed at his jokes and memorized his articles). A year later, he joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was stationed in France.

During the war years, Milne turned to writing plays and children’s literature. Encouraged by his wife, who acted as his scribe, he completed a children’s book, Once on a Time (1917), and wrote his first play of note, Wurzel-Flummery (pr. 1917). Suffering from trench fever, he returned to England and completed the war years writing propaganda for the intelligence service.

After the war, Milne did not go back to Punch; instead, he launched his career as a playwright and children’s author. Inspired by British playwright Sir James Barrie and actor-manager Dion Boucicault, Milne became the successful author of a series of light comedies. His comedy Mr. Pim Passes By (pr. 1919) ran for 246 performances on the London stage. Always moving in new directions, Milne scored a success with his detective novel The Red House Mystery. Next he began to focus on children’s literature, achieving lasting fame with Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928). During the 1930’s and 1940’s, he continued to write, although never equaling his earlier efforts. He died on January 31, 1956, at the age of seventy-four.

Biography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Alan Alexander Milne was born at Henley House in the Hampstead district of London on January 18, 1882. Henley House was a school at which his father, John Vine Milne, taught. The youngest of the three sons of John and the former Sarah Maria Heginbotham, he displayed his love of language early and was writing letters to family members by the time he was four. Among the books he loved as a young boy were Reynard the Fox and Joel Chandler Harris’s Uncle Remus books. Two years before Milne’s birth, Ernest Howard Shepard, who would illustrate his books for children, was born in the same neighborhood, but the two did not meet until their adult years. When Milne was eight years old, he wrote “My Three Days’ Walking Tour,” which appeared in a publication of the school. It is significant because the setting, Ashdown Forest, would eventually become the model of the Hundred Acre Wood, the abode of the characters in the Winnie-the-Pooh books.

His early education took place at Henley House, where one of his teachers was H. G. Wells. Wells, who would become one of England’s illustrious writers, remained a friend and supporter of his former student. Alan Milne and his brother Kenneth, who were always close, enrolled in Westminster School in 1893, where Alan prepared for Trinity College, Cambridge, which he entered in 1900. There he edited Granta, a publication sometimes referred to as “the Cambridge Punch,” referring to the famous English humor magazine. In the meantime he decided that he did not want to follow his father into teaching. His father, although disappointed, supported Milne in his efforts to become an...

(The entire section is 676 words.)

Biography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

A. A. Milne’s originality as a writer for children begins with his translation of children’s animal toys to a woods, where they take on the being of characters with distinctive personalities, speech habits, and a desire to fashion their own kind of life. Milne’s animals play with each other and with language itself. He had an extraordinary ability to assume and express a childlike point of view. The only significant human in these books is a child, but to Pooh and Piglet and the other animals he serves as a helpful and sympathetic substitute parent. The Hundred Acre Wood is as safe as a nursery but more exciting because it is a place where adventures and small misadventures sometimes end instructively but always end happily.

Biography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Alan Alexander Milne will forever be remembered as the author of the well-known and well-loved tales of Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Christopher Robin, and the other denizens of the fictional Hundred Acre Wood. While his reputation as a children’s writer will ensure his legacy, he also wanted to be remembered as a prolific adult dramatist, essayist, and novelist.

Born in 1882, the youngest son of John Vine Milne, the master of a private school for boys, A. A. Milne attended his father’s school, Henley House. It was there that he was first introduced to the author H. G. Wells, who was employed at Henley as a mathematics instructor. In his later years Wells would offer Milne encouragement and advice in matters of...

(The entire section is 1125 words.)