December 15, 2017
Pooh Too HummyOn this day in 1928 Dorothy Parker, under her pen name, Constant Reader, reviewed A. A. Milne's The House at Pooh Corner in the New Yorker, with predictable results. The first Winnie-the-Pooh episode had appeared on Christmas Eve of 1925 in the Evening News, and was radio broadcast throughout Britain on Christmas Day. Over the next three years, Milne's children's books -- When We Were Very Young, Winnie-the Pooh, Now We Are Six -- had dominated the best seller lists. Parker had panned Now We Are Six the previous year, even while acknowledging that "to speak against Mr. Milne puts one immediately in the ranks of those who set fire to orphanages." The House at Pooh Corner proved to be one pot of honey too many, especially when Pooh revealed that he added the "tiddely pom" to his Outdoor Song "to make it more hummy": "And it is that word 'hummy,' my darlings, that marks the first place in The House at Pooh Corner at which Tonstant Weader fwowed up."
Parker did not have a special grudge against Milne. She says in her review of Now We Are Six that, "Time was when A. A. Milne was my only hero," but that "when Mr. Milne went quaint, all was over. Now he leads his life, and I Iead mine." At this point, the life Parker lead was so full of personal disaster that any show of sentimentality was bound to draw fire. Constant Reader's review of a book titled Happiness described it as "second only to a rubber duck as the ideal bathtub companion":
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