Alan Alexander Milne was an English author, best known for his books about theteddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various children’s poems.
A. A. Milne short biography
Alan Alexander Milne was born in London on January 18, 1882. His father, who was headmaster of a small private school, often read aloud to his three sons, Barry, Ken, and Alan.
Milne was very good at mathematics when he was a boy. Milne was educated at Westminster School in London and at the University of Cambridge’s Trinity College. While at Cambridge, he studied mathematics and also edited and wrote for the student magazine Granta. Realizing that writing was his true vocation, he moved to London after his graduation in 1903. He began writing for the literary magazine Punch in 1906, and his essays and humorous poetry were published in the magazine through 1914.
In 1913 he married Dorothy (Daphne) de Sélincourt.
Milne served in the army in World War I. After the war, he began to write plays, many of which are still performed. The best known is Mr. Pim Passes By (1919). He wrote other works for adults—novels, essays, and his autobiography, It’s Too Late Now (1939). The Red House Mystery (1921), a detective novel, is still popular. So is Toad of Toad Hall (1929), his play based on Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows. But it was poems and stories for children that made him famous.
Christopher Robin—or Billy Moon, as he called himself—was born in 1920. One day Milne wrote a poem about him called “Vespers” and gave it to his wife as a present. She sent the poem to a magazine, and it was published. Milne wrote more poems, which were published in two books, When We Were Very Young (1924) and Now We are Six (1927).
In 1925, the Milnes bought a farmhouse in Sussex. This “enchanted place on the top of the Forest” was the setting for Milne’s stories about Christopher Robin and Pooh. Other toy animals, as well as creatures of the forest, joined in the adventures described in Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928).
A. A. Milne had a special talent for presenting small children as they are. He takes us into their private world of make-believe and funny words—of “wheezles and sneezles,” “haycorns,” “expotitions,” and “biffalo-buffalo-bisons.” All the pictures in the Christopher Robin books were drawn by the well-known artist Ernest H. Shepard. His tiny pen-and-ink figures exactly capture the mood of the books.
In the 1930s and ’40s, A.A. Milne returned to writing for adults, publishing novels, short-story collections and a non-fiction, anti-war book entitled Peace with Honour.
Milne suffered from illness in the early 1950s and died at his home in Hartfield, East Sussex, England, on January 31, 1956. Winnie-the-Pooh and the other characters of the Pooh stories have lived on as iconic figures in children’s literature.