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Posts Tagged ‘A.A. Milne

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid”*…

 

Anyone who has the temerity to write about Jane Austen is aware of [two] facts: first, that of all great writers she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness; second, that there are twenty-five elderly gentlemen living in the neighbourhood of London who resent any slight upon her genius as if it were an insult to the chastity of their aunts…

– Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

As the anniversary of her death approaches, Jane Austen and her work will be celebrated across the UK and the world. Lucy Worsley explores why such a well-loved author remains so mysterious.

Downright nonsense” was the verdict of Mrs Augusta Bramston, a Hampshire friend and neighbour of the Austen family, on reading Pride and Prejudice. In 1814, Jane Austen published Mansfield Park, a sophisticated study of love and family life. Mrs Bramston nevertheless thought she ought to give it go, and having struggled through volume one, “flattered herself she had got through the worst”.

Jane Austen recorded this and other hilarious remarks from friends in a list of opinions on Mansfield Park. The document, in Austen’s own neat handwriting, is just one of the funny and sad items in the British Library’s new exhibition, Jane Austen Among Family and Friends [which opened yesterday].

Austen surely recorded the comments in a spirit of malicious mockery rather than regret. Even if only a small number of readers appreciated her at the time of her death in 1817, she hopefully knew just how brilliant a writer she was. Two hundred years later, everyone knows it. Her face is to appear on £10 notes and £2 coins, and the bicentenary of her death will see a slew of exhibitions showcasing her writing and world…

More on “The Divine Jane” at “Jane Austen at 200: still a friend and a stranger.”

* Jane Austen

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As we muse on manners, we might send nostalgic birthday greetings to A.A. Milne; he was born on this date in 1882.  Milne spent the earliest years of his career as a playwright, screenwriter, and the author of a single mystery novel, but is remembered for the two volumes of Winnie-the-Pooh stories he wrote for (and featuring) his son, Christopher Robin.  His transitional work, written immediately after the birth of his son, was a book of children’s verse, When We Were Young, famously ornamented by Punch illustrator E. H. Shepard.

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“Beep, Beep”*…

 

Here is a parable. For decades, a master artisan crafts works of beauty and genius. His creations are acclaimed by virtually all who behold them. Nearing the end of his life, the artisan, wealthy and revered, his name rightly and indelibly etched into the history of his medium, sets out to describe for posterity how he created such great works, the discipline underlying their brilliance. He writes down the rules he set for himself. And they are wrong…

From Albert Burneko‘s fascinating essay on Chuck Jones [c.f. here and here], his Road Runner cartoons, his “Nine Rules” for creating those masterpieces… and the profound way in which those rules miss the point. Some readers will agree with Burneko; others may disagree. But all will enjoy the journey (and perhaps especially the exquisite cartoons that are liberally used as examples):

How Wile E. Coyote Explains The World.”

* Road Runner

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As we buy Acme, we might recall that it was on this date in 1919 that two men who were to figure prominently in the development of animation were mustered out of the armed services:  A.A. Milne was discharged from the Signal Corps of the British Army, and Roy Disney was released from the U.S. Navy.  Milne went on to write one of the best-love children’s series ever, featuring a character, Winnie the Pooh, that Roy Disney helped his brother and partner Walt turn into an animated staple.

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Written by LW

February 14, 2016 at 1:01 am

The Annals of Popular Culture: B is for Bieber…

 

Justin Bieber, the Internet’s hatchling, has left the nest, preparing to spread his swaggy wings and be fly…

Serious artist Justin Bieber—amid the scurrilous rumors spread by a provincial gutter press, based on their narrow-minded adherence to photographs and words—recently announced his retirement from music, signaling his embarking on a new career in broader, even more obnoxious forms of art.

Of late, Bieber’s more confrontational, avant-garde explorations in being irritating have included: peeing in a mop bucket, challenging the conventional notion of mop buckets not having some kid’s piss in them; spray-painting monkey and penguin graffiti, representing the idea that celebrities are trapped just like zoo animals, and also that Justin Bieber thinks penguins are dope; and haunting a Brazilian brothel dressed as a spooky ghost, a stand-in for the lingering specter of society’s prudishness about prostitution, and the classic Freudian connection between death and banging bitches. It also included not actually retiring from music, his most antagonistic artistic statement yet…

Read on at “Justin Bieber symbolically signals his artistic rebirth by egging his neighbor’s house.”

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As we reconsider our positions on the High vs. Low debate, we might send nostalgic birthday greetings to A.A. Milne; he was born on this date in 1882.  Milne spent the earliest years of his career as a playwright, screenwriter, and the author of a single mystery novel, but is remembered for the two volumes of Winnie-the-Pooh stories he wrote for (and featuring) his son, Christopher Robin.  His transitional work, written immediately after the birth of his son, was a book of children’s verse, When We Were Young, famously ornamented by Punch illustrator E. H. Shepard.

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Written by LW

January 18, 2014 at 1:01 am

Auld Lang Syne…

Rob Sheridan has a day job; he’s the creative director of Nine Inch Nails.  But he moonlights as a photographer and artist pursuing his own interests… Recently they’ve run to what’s become of the mascots of well-known breakfast cereals:

… For some reason this image has been swimming around in my head for a few years now, and finally – after chipping away at it bit by bit over the last couple months – I’ve brought it to life as a large, absurdly detailed print. It’s kind of about the strange, uncomfortable feeling of reuniting with old friends only to find that the magic just isn’t there anymore – and in turn, about the melancholy “nothing will ever be as good as it used to be” type of nostalgia, of which I am increasingly fond. And of course, a tribute to the late, great, wood-paneled, shag-carpeted 1970’s rec room.

Cereal Mascot Reunion

Thanks to Monster Cereal Blog, where this stunner was featured.

As we watch the chocolate bleed into the milk, we might send birthday balloons to Christopher Robin Milne– real-life model for the wise young friend of Winnie the Pooh– born to Daphne and A.A. Milne on this date in 1920.

A.A. Milne, Christopher Robin… and a bear

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Written by LW

August 21, 2009 at 12:01 am

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