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definition - Christopher_Robin_Milne

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Christopher Robin Milne

                   
Christopher Robin Milne

Young Milne with bear
Born (1920-08-21)21 August 1920
Chelsea, London, England
Died 20 April 1996(1996-04-20) (aged 75)

Christopher Robin Milne (21 August 1920 - 20 April 1996) was the son of author A. A. Milne. As a child, he was the basis of the character Christopher Robin in his father's Winnie-the-Pooh stories and in two books of poems.

Contents

  Early life

Christopher Robin Milne was born at 11 Mallord St, Chelsea, London at 8 A.M. to author Alan Alexander Milne and Dorothy Milne (née de Sélincourt). His parents had expected the baby to be a girl, and had chosen the name Rosemary. When it turned out to be a boy, they initially intended to call him Billy, but decided that this would be too informal. They gave him two first names to help distinguish him from other Milnes, each parent choosing a name. Although he was officially named Christopher Robin, his parents often referred to him as "Billy". When he began to talk, he pronounced his surname as Moon instead of Milne. After that, his family would often call him "Billy", "Moon", or "Billy Moon". In later life, he became known as simply "Christopher".

  The real stuffed toys owned by Christopher Robin Milne and featured in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. They were on display in the Donnell Library Center in New York City since the 1980s. According to the New York Public Library's web site "They have recently moved from their previous home in the Central Children's Room to grand new quarters in the History and Social Science Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street and will be on display in the Children’s Room beginning in early 2009."

On his first birthday, he received an Alpha Farnell teddy bear he called Edward. This bear, along with a real bear named "Winnie" that Milne saw at the London Zoo, eventually became the inspiration for the character of Winnie-the-Pooh. The teddy bear was about two feet tall, light in color, frequently losing his eyes, and a fairly constant companion to Milne.

As was customary for upper-class and upper-middle-class children at the time, Milne was reared by a nanny — Olive Brockwell. Meetings with his parents were restricted to short periods just after breakfast, at tea time, and in the evening, just before he went to bed. As he grew up, he spent more time with them; however, they spent little time together, so Milne divided his own time between his mother and his father.

Time spent with his father led to Milne's love of mathematics and cricket, as well as to their shared pacifism. Though Milne spoke self-deprecatingly of his intellect, referring to himself many times as being "dim", he was intelligent for a boy of his age. The reason for his denial of his intelligence was that he was able to solve complex equations with little or no difficulty but had to concentrate on much simpler ones.[1]

From his mother, Milne acquired a talent for working with his hands. He owned a small tool kit, which he used to take apart the lock on his nursery door when he was seven years old. By the age of 10, he had modified the works of a grandfather clock, and altered a cap gun so that it would shoot real bullets.[1]

  Schooling

In his childhood, Milne was fond of being associated with his father's books, helping him to write a few of the stories. Once, he went so far as to organize a short play for his parents, reenacting a story about himself and his friends in the woods. However, after starting school, he was mocked by his peers, who recited passages from the books, particularly from the poem Vespers: "Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares! Christopher Robin is saying his prayers." Milne therefore grew to resent the attention that his father's success had brought to him.

Milne first attended the Gibbs School, an independent school in London, in 1929. At the age of nine he went on to Stowe School, an independent boys' school in Buckinghamshire, where he learned to box as a way to defend himself from the taunts of his classmates. In 1939, he won a scholarship to study English at Trinity College, Cambridge.

  Later life

When World War II broke out, Milne left his studies and attempted to join the army, but failed the medical examination. His father used his influence to get Milne a position with the second training battalion of the Royal Engineers. He received his commission in July 1942 and was posted to the Middle East and Italy.

While serving abroad, he began to resent what he saw as his father's exploitation of his childhood and came to hate the books that had thrust him into the public eye.[1] After being discharged from the army, he went to Cambridge to complete his studies and graduated with a Third Class Honours degree in English.

On 24 July 1948, Milne married his first cousin, Lesley Sélincourt. His mother disliked the marriage, partly because she did not get along with her brother, Lesley's father Aubrey. (She had wanted her son to marry his childhood friend, Anne Darlington.) In 1951, Milne and his wife moved to Dartmouth to found the Harbour Bookshop, which turned out to be a success, though his mother had thought the decision odd, as Milne did not seem to like "business", and as a bookseller would regularly have to meet Pooh fans. While both of these facts did at times cause them frustration, Milne and his wife ran their bookshop for many years without any help from royalties from sales of the Pooh books. He occasionally visited his father after the elder Milne became ill, but once his father died, he did not see his mother during the 15 years that passed before her death;[2] even when she was on her death bed she refused to see her son.[3]

A few months after his father's death in 1956, Christopher's daughter Clare was born, and diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy. She would later run a charity for the disabled called the Clare Milne Trust.

In 1974, Milne published the first of three autobiographical books. The Enchanted Places gave an account of his childhood and of the problems that he had encountered because of the Pooh books.

Milne gave the original stuffed animals that inspired the Pooh characters to the editor of the books, who in turn donated them to the New York City Public Library; Marjorie Taylor (in her book Imaginary Companions and the Children Who Create Them) recounts how many were disappointed at this, and Milne had to explain that he preferred to concentrate on the things that currently interested him.[4]

  Death

Milne lived for some years with myasthenia gravis and died in his sleep on 20 April 1996. After his death he was described by one newspaper as a "dedicated atheist".[5]

  Bibliography

  References

  1. ^ a b c Milne, Christopher (1974). The Enchanted Places. Eyre Methuen. ISBN 978-0-14-003449-3. 
  2. ^ Thwaite, p485
  3. ^ Thwaite, p542
  4. ^ Taylor, Marjorie (1999). Imaginary Companions and the Children Who Create Them. Oxford University Press. pp. 120. ISBN 0-19-507704-0. 
  5. ^ "The books live on. But in real life Toad is dead; Alice is dead; Peter Pan and Wendy are long flown; and now Christopher Robin, a 'sweet and decent' man who overcame a childhood in which he was haunted by Pooh and taunted by peers, has left without saying his prayers - he was a dedicated atheist - aged 75." Euan Ferguson, 'Robin's gone, but swallows linger on,' The Observer, 28 April 1996, News, Pg. 14.

  External links

   
               

 

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