Books For Interested Readers


I wish to thank Sonia King of London, England, UK and the late Barry MacFarlane of San Francisco, CA., USA for making it possible for me to obtain the following books (now out of print). All of them are listed on Amazon.com; check the links provided on this page for further information, or go to our new Online Mall !


 

THE ENCHANTED PLACES
Christopher Milne
Methuen, 1974

This, the first volume of Christopher (Robin) Milne's autobiographical trilogy, is the work of a self-described "unskilled amateur writer". One would never know it from the contents. The author's writing is lucid, colorful and vivid -- easily the match of anything his father wrote, though naturally in his own style.

On the cover is a photograph of the original Poohsticks Bridge, the inspiration (with some artistic license) for the bridge drawn by E.H. Shepard in The House at Pooh Corner.

Christopher admits here that playing the role of "the real Christopher Robin" makes him feel very ill at ease. Thus he discusses mostly the things that were of importance to him, the real boy. Yet along the way, inevitably, the background behind the Pooh Books interweaves with Christopher's own life -- and with that of his father, about which he writes several revealing chapters.


 

THE PATH THROUGH THE TREES
Christopher Milne
Methuen, 1979

This book, considerably thicker than the first, describes Christopher's adult life, from his joining the British Army as a sapper in the Corps of Engineers during World War II, to his marriage to Lesley de Selincourt, to their establishment of a bookstore in Devonshire (in the far southwest of England), to the finding of a cause where Christopher at last found his voice, to the birth of the Milnes' palsied daughter Clare and how Christopher's "odd" assortment of talents enabled him to meet her special needs.

Christopher makes a further admission here: writing The Enchanted Places enabled him, for the first time, to look both his father and his literary alter ego in the eye and to come to terms with them. In writing this particular book (as a reviewer of it noted), Christopher had at last shed the ghost of his father's reputation by earning one of his own.


 

THE HOLLOW ON THE HILL: THE SEARCH FOR A PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY
Christopher Milne
Methuen, 1982

Christopher Milne, like his father before him, was a pantheist and a humanist. In his first two books, he devoted some time to defending his beliefs (in the second book, thanks to the reactions the first book provoked). Here, in the last book of his autobiographical trilogy, he states the case for his personal philosophy.

If greater minds have addressed the issues Christopher raises, or have refuted them, his treatment of the issues is nevertheless revealing. He himself likens his efforts to that of an amateur painter -- one not able to match the efforts of the more skilled, no doubt, but bound to try his best. Indeed he addresses a number of facets of the human condition, from our sense of beauty to our relationship with nature, and even our conceptions of God.

If Christopher began in his youth skeptical and even somewhat hostile toward any concept of God at all (or at least toward the Christian conception), in his old age he was apparently more tolerant, more willing to concede that others might have a perception he lacked. In any event, the closest Christopher felt to a conception of God was that which nature revealed to him. It is a feeling I understand, for had I not become a Christian, I would have become a pantheist and a humanist myself -- and for similar reasons, given how similar Christopher and I are in our basic natures. All in all, I found this book fascinating reading.

Christopher also wrote a fourth volume, The Open Garden (Methuen), but at the time Sonia King helped me purchase the first three volumes, I hadn't heard about the fourth (assuming it had even been written then). This last volume appears to be "a provocative treatise on humankind's duty to the natural world" and is excerpted in the book cited below, Beyond the World of Pooh (cf. synopsis, Amazon.co.uk).


 

A.A. Milne: THE MAN BEHIND WINNIE-THE-POOH
Ann Thwaite
Random House, 1990

This book (published in the U.K. as A.A. Milne: His Life) is the source of much of the textual and graphical material found on this site. It is a very thick book, abundantly illustrated with photographs and written in a clear and personable style.

A.A. Milne had written an autobiography, of course; and many felt that Christopher Milne had written an adequate biography of his father in The Enchanted Places. Indeed, Christopher had not intended that another person write one, and Ann did not intend to proceed without his permission. While he did grant permission, he didn't think he would be much help; so much material had been lost, he believed. Happily, this turned out not to be the case; and Ann had the help of a very long list of people in and out of the Milne extended family, as well as the archives at the University of Texas at Austin, Trinity College and elsewhere.

Ms. Thwaite also wrote The Brilliant Career of Winnie-the-Pooh: The Definitive History of the Best Bear in All the World (1994). I spotted it in The Disney Store at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas. It's well worth having, but I didn't have the money to buy it then... and now that I have it, I highly recommend it as well. It tells much about the Milnes that doesn't appear in Ms. Thwaite's earlier volume, complete with manifold photos and illustrations.


The following books are likewise listed on Amazon.com. Check the links provided for further information.


 

BEYOND THE WORLD OF POOH
Christopher Milne
Edited by A. R. Melrose
Introduction by Lesley Milne
E. P. Dutton, 1998

This book (also listed as out of print) contains excerpts from Christopher Milne's four books (with an introduction by his widow Lesley). I have not seen its contents. I thought you'd like to see the cover anyway.


 

This is the U.K. edition of the same book as listed on Amazon.co.uk. I must confess I much prefer the cover of this edition. I also find it ironic that for all of Christopher Milne's efforts to move "beyond the world of Pooh", he is symbolized on the covers of both editions of this book by his association with Pooh. At least the covers of the original editions of his books mostly make other associations (leaving aside Poohsticks Bridge as featured on the cover of The Enchanted Places).


 

THE WORLD OF CHRISTOPHER ROBIN
A.A. Milne / Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
E. P. Dutton, 1958

This book is a compilation of When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. (The cover of the edition sold on Amazon.com differs from that of the edition shown here.) In addition to the original line drawings by Shepard, it has a number of later color illustrations by the same author. The illustrations of Christopher Robin, Pooh and the other animals are particularly revealing as to what their real-life counterparts were like (even if, as in all Shepard's work, Pooh was really based on his son Grahame's bear Growler).


 

THE WORLD OF POOH
A.A. Milne
Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
E. P. Dutton, 1957

This book is a compilation of Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. (The cover of the edition sold on Amazon.com differs from that of the edition shown here.) In addition to the original line drawings by Shepard, it has a number of later color illustrations by the same author. The illustrations of Christopher Robin, Pooh and the other animals are particularly revealing as to what their real-life counterparts were like (even if, as in all Shepard's work, Pooh was really based on his son Grahame's bear Growler).


 

WINNIE ILLE PU
A.A. Milne
Translated by Alexander Lenard
Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
Paperback edition by Penguin Books / E. P. Dutton, 1987

This book is a translation of Winnie-the-Pooh into Latin, complete with glossary and wry Latin puns and historical references of its own. In addition to the original Shepard drawings, it adds a few delightfully Romanized drawings of the characters by the same artist (as on the cover). It even dares (in an Appendix) to complete the poem Pooh composed to distract Kanga while Rabbit attempted to kidnap Roo.

The cover of the edition sold on Amazon.com differs from that of the edition shown here; the former has Pooh wearing a crown of laurel leaves.


 

WINNIE ILLE PU: SEMPER LUDET
A.A. Milne
Translated by Brian Staples
Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
Hardcover edition by E. P. Dutton, 1998

This book is a translation of The House at Pooh Corner into Latin, complete with at least one delightfully Romanized drawing of Pooh by E.H. Shepard (on the cover). I've only glanced at the contents, but if anything the translation looks more "even" (and accessible) than that in Lenard's volume -- and so I'm glad to recommend this book.


 

THE POOH PERPLEX
Frederick Crews
Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
University of Chicago Press (reprint, 2003)

This book ("In Which It is Discovered that the True Meaning of the Pooh Stories is Not as Simple as is Usually Believed...") is a famous parody of post-1960's literary criticism and its Freudian bases, using the Pooh Books as their inspiration. There is another book of that ilk by the same author, Postmodern Pooh.

I've done my own amateur Jungian analysis of the characters in the Pooh Stories, and really I ought to publish a book of my own about that analysis. As a whole I find the models of Jung and others who are on the cutting edge of personality type studies to be far more edifying (and more accurate) in their descriptions of humans and fictional characters alike than anything I've yet found in Freud's psychology.


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Updated June 17, 2016