As a lifelong superfan of the classic children’s books Winnie-the-Pooh and House at Pooh Corner (and, oh fine, their less literary bastardized Disney spinoffs), it was a wonder for me to learn that the creator of such gentle, arguably Taoist woodland characters had been a combat veteran.
A. A. Milne was a veteran of both World Wars.
How did he reconcile his experience in two bloody wars with his creation of the Hundred Acre Wood, a calm fictional world full of symbolic animals that represent human archetypes? Not to mention accomplishing this in a way safe for children’s eyes, ears, and imaginations? And/or the inspiration for the scholarly Tao of Pooh and Te of Piglet books by Benjamin Hoff, which posit that Milne’s main characters (Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet) are actually models for two forces of the relaxing religion of Taoism?
A point of intrigue, if not an answer, comes in the form of his dear son, Christopher Robin Milne, Milne’s real-life progeny for whom he began creating these stories as a way to connect with the boy. That the stories took off was a surprise and a bit of a turn-off for Christopher Robin as he got older and realized he was a major literary figure of his father’s making. Yup– he’d gone viral without his consent.
There is even a movie coming out soon about Christopher Robin Milne’s complicated relationship with his father, which I heard about after the advent of this blog post. I will include the trailer below for rabid fans of dead military writers.
This blog is TO BE CONTINUED. Within the next week, there should be a thinkpiece written by moi to really answer the question this post provokes. I shall not disappoint you and shall make you aware about Milne’s military career in more detail. I just felt the need to introduce the subject before I go HAM on this apeshit.