A. A. Milne (Alan Alexander Milne) Biography
(1882–1956), (Alan Alexander Milne), Punch, The Day's Play, Once a Week, The Sunny Side
British playwright, novelist, essayist, and writer of short stories and poems, born in St John's Wood, London, educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. Though known today primarily for his children's books, Milne acquired several large and distinct audiences in his lifetime. His weekly contributions to Punch (as ‘A.A.M.’) in 1908–18 were collected into several popular volumes including The Day's Play (1910), Once a Week (1914), and The Sunny Side (1921): selections from these appeared as Those Were the Days (1929) and The Pocket A.A.M. (1941). If I May (1920) was a selection of non-Punch journalism; The Red House Mystery (1922) was a detective novel. After the early plays Worzel-Flummery (1917) and Belinda (1918), Mr. Pym Passes By (1920) launched Milne into a successful theatrical career; other plays include The Dover Road (1922), To Have the Honour (1924), and a pantomime-fantasy, Make-Believe (1918). In 1924, When We Were Very Young appeared to instant success. This collection of poems for children, based on his son, Christopher Robin, captures the joyful innocence of childhood while retaining its vulnerability and the sometimes frightening largeness of the adult world—elements present also in the outstandingly popular Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928), and a second collection of poems, Now We Are Six (1927). Milne claimed that the popularity of his children's books eclipsed his other writings, which included novels and essays for adults. His most successful play was Toad of Toad Hall (1929), a faithful adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows (1908). Of many dramatic presentations of the children's novels, Alan Bennett's sympathetic readings for the BBC in the early 1980s are especially notable. An autobiography, It's Too Late Now, appeared in 1939.