Winnie-the-Pooh Finds His Original Voice

Ever since I was a little child, the name “Winnie-the-Pooh” has conjured up two instantaneous and incredibly powerful associations: E.H. Shepard and Sterling Holloway.

Now, thanks to OpenCulture, I can add another to the list: Pooh’s creator, A.A. Milne himself.

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Here’s a rare recording from 1929 of the British writer A.A. Milne reading a chapter of his beloved children’s book, Winnie-the-Pooh. Milne was a prolific writer of plays, novels and essays, but he was mostly known–much to his exasperation–as the creator of a simple and good-natured little bear.

OK, so perhaps that’s not the stuff that instantaneous associations are made of. He sounds almost exactly like I’d expect. Quiet. And English. And as though he’s used to reading to children. Not particularly distinctive, finally  – he’s no Holloway, that’s for sure — but pleasant. And gentle. Sort of like his beloved creation.

It’s interesting to me that both Milne and Shepard expressed some displeasure over being known primarily for their association with Pooh — a reminder that one rarely gets to choose what it is that catches the public’s eye. Whether? Yes. But why? Not so much. (Also worth noting is the fact that this is not the first time OpenCulture has provided me with such enjoyable “In Their Own Words” material. Their collection of Flannery O’Connor recordings is an absolute “must listen.”)

About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, being amazed by his (currently) lone daughter, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.


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