A.A. Milne: Silly, Willy Nilly Old Bear and Writings That Made This English Author Famous!
With one sweeping creation, Alan Alexander Milne (dubbed AA Milne) etched himself into the world as a famous children's author. Before the release of Winnie the Pooh, Milne spent his time writing children's stories and plays, but it was not until the success of Winnie the Pooh and friends that he became a renowned author.
Milne was born in 1882 and lived until 1956. He was born in London and lived at the Henley House School, which his father owned and operated. He went on to college and graduated from the Trinity College in Cambridge with interests in literature and mathematics. During his collegiate years, he often collaborated with his brothers to produce the student body magazine. This is where his writing talent was first recognized. Shortly after, he had articles and stories being published in a popular British humor magazine.
He joined the army during World War I and suffered serious injuries. Afterwards, he wrote two essays about the war which were extremely popular and well read. They were named Peace with Honour and War with Honour. He also wrote 18 plays and 3 novels. The Red House Mystery was published in 1922. After the birth of his son, Milne began revisiting his interest in children's literature and published several poetry collections named When We Were Very Young and several short stories. It was during this period in his life where he created the character Christopher Robin and the rest of the Winnie the Pooh gang. The bear in the story was named after a black bear at the Winnipeg Zoo that had the same name.
For A.A. Milne, the success of the Winnie the Pooh books was quite an annoyance. From their release, editors and publishers insisted that Milne continue writing the stories for children and many refused to take an interest in any of his other literary creations. For Milne, who still loved to write humor, plays, political essays, poems and short stories - he felt bored and unchallenged by the demand of Winnie the Pooh material. Still, he followed up his original writings with many other stories and worked on his other areas of interest with passion. At the end of his career, he had published 7 novels, 4 pieces of non-fiction, dozens of magazine and newspaper articles and 7 poetry collections, 25 plays, and various other works that were published globally.
After Milne died in 1956, his family sold the rights to Winnie the Pooh to Disney Corporation which has ensured the whimsy and charm of the original stories still lives on today. Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin are considered mainstays of childhood and few toddlers today grow up without meeting these two delightful characters. While it may not have been Milne's favorite work - it was most definitely his most successful piece of children's literature.