A. A. Milne

His Life

3.65 based on 29 ratings & 6 reviews on Goodreads.com

A.A. Milne is one of the most successful English writers ever. His heart-warming creations—Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Tigger and Piglet—have become some of the best-loved children’s characters of all time, and readers the world over are familiar with the stories from the Hundred Acre Wood.

Yet the man himself has remained an enigma. Although in many ways his behaviour was that of a typical golf-playing, pipe-smoking Englishman, Milne refused to be typecast, and his publishers despaired when he turned from writing popular columns for Punch to writing detective stories. They complained again when the detective writer presented them with a set of children’s verse, but when When We Were Very Young became one of the best-selling books of all time, Milne’s credibility as one of the world’s favorite authors was sealed.

In this biography of Milne, Ann Thwaite reveals the man himself, in all his complexity. As W. A. Darlington put it in 1921, commenting on Milne’s highly popular plays, ‘Mr Milne is obviously at heart (like all humorists) a serious person, with things to say.’ He had strong political feelings, and was a pacifist even before his experiences on the Somme in 1916. There was always something darker and more tangled under ‘the bright glitter of surfaces’.

At his father’s school, Milne was taught by the young H. G. Wells, who remained a lifelong friend; later, J. M. Barrie called him ‘my Mr Milne’ and was ‘uncommon proud of him’; later still, P. G. Wodehouse became one of his greatest admirers, and a friend – but was then deeply hurt by Milne’s strong reaction to the notorious wartime broadcasts. Milne’s personal relationships, including those with his wife and son, were not always easy.

In A. A. Milne: His Life, Ann Thwaite has produced a vivid, sympathetic and entertaining portrait of both the man and his work, set in the context of his time, which stands as the definitive life of a writer whose work has earned some loathing (for its supposed ‘whimsy’) but much more devotion among readers of all ages, not only in English-speaking countries but all over the world.

About Ann Thwaite

Ann Thwaite is a Whitbread-prize winning biographer and children’s writer. " " " " She was born in London, spent the war years in New Zealand and was educated at Queen Elizabeth’s, Barnet and St Hilda’s College, Oxford. Ann has travelled extensively and has lived in Tokyo, Benghazi and Nashville and is now settled in Norfolk with her husband, the poet Anthony Thwaite. " " " " Ann has written five major biographies. The first, of Frances Hodgson Burnett, the author of The Secret Garden, was published in 1974. Edmund Gosse: A Literary Landscape won the 1985 Duff Cooper Prize and was described by John Carey as “one of the finest literary biographies of our time.” Emily Tennyson, The Poet's Wife, is widely regarded as the most interesting biography of Tennyson himself. Glimpses of the Wonderful, a life of Edmund’s father, Philip Henry Gosse, was picked out by D.J. Taylor in the Independent as one of the ‘Ten Best Biographies' ever. " " " " AA Milne: His Life won the Whitbread Biography of the Year 1990, and The Brilliant Career of Winnie-the-Pooh, a scrapbook off-shoot of her Milne biography was published in 1992. " " " " For many years, Ann wrote and reviewed children's books, as well as running a library for local children in her home. Her most recent book is a history of her own family called Passageways: The Story of a New Zealand Family. It was published in 2009. " " " " Ann is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature as well as an Honorary Fellow of Roehampton University (National Centre for Research into Children's Literature). She also has an honorary doctorate from the University of East Anglia and a D.Litt from Oxford.

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Books by Ann Thwaite

Beyond the Secret Garden
Beyond the Secret Garden