"The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking." - AA Milne
While A.A. Milne's best known protagonist, Winnie-the-Pooh, believed himself to be a "bear of very little brain", his creator was very gifted in the brains department - earning a scholarship to Cambridge to study mathematics and then going on to be a playwright; editor of Punch, a leading British satirical magazine; author of adult fiction and nonfiction and creator of four books starring Pooh Bear and Christopher Robin: When We Were Very Young (1924), Winnie-the-Pooh (1926), Now We Are Six (1927) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928).
Alan Alexander Milne was born in London in January 1882, the youngest of John and Sarah Milne's three sons. He grew up at Henley House, a small private school run by his father, in Kilburn, London, where he was taught briefly by H.G. Wells who apparently admired the intellect of the then 7-8 year-old Milne. He went on to Westminster School and then to Trinity College, Cambridge. While there he edited the student magazine, Granta, collaborating on articles with his brother Kenneth, while also contributing articles to Punch. He became editor of Punch from 1906 until he enlisted in the army in 1915. While editor of Punch he published his first book and three collections of articles.
During his military service in World War I he served in France with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and, after an illness, with the Royal Corps of Signals. During this time he wrote three plays which were performed on the London stage. After being discharged in February 1919 he settled in East Sussex with his wife Dorothy (known as Daphne). In 1920 their only son, Christopher Robin Milne, was born. When Christopher was one year old he was given a stuffed bear which he initially named Edward bear but later renamed Winnie-the-Pooh" after a Canadian black bear named Winnie, which was used as a military mascot in World War I and left to London Zoo after the war.
Apparently, the success of his children's books was an annoyance to Milne who had chosen not to return to Punch after the war in order to write whatever he pleased, but instead found himself typecast as the author of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Despite this, in addition to his children's books, during his life he wrote seven novels, four works of non-fiction, thirty plays and four screenplays. He had a stroke and brain surgery in 1952 and died in 1956.
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