All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jessica Dallow

Advisory Committee Members

Heather McPherson

Lucy Curzon

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2014

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

This thesis aims to demonstrate how the two volumes of Winnie-the-Pooh stories, published in 1926 and 1928, and written by A.A. Milne and illustrated by E.H. Shepard, operate as a unique lens through which early twentieth-century attitudes towards nature and wildlife in Britain may be discerned, and in particular how the stuffed animal characters of Pooh the bear and Tigger the tiger represent a shift in post-war British worldviews concerning nature and domination. The initial stage of this investigation determines how the exceptionally broad demographic constituting the audience for children's fiction makes the medium a particularly expressive record of the society in which it is produced. And then considering the text and illustrations of Winnie-the-Pooh in a broader cultural and historical context reveals the stories' anthropomorphic characters and pastoral environs to be a surprisingly incisive document of the British, and particularly the English public's response to the shifting physical and psychological landscape of post-war Britain. The fictional spaces of Winnie-the-Pooh reflect English pride in outdoor pursuits and traditions of natural enclosure, aspects of national identity that appear increasingly in fiction, and imagery as industrial progress and urbanization take their toll on the real spaces suitable for outdoor pursuits. Finally, my research compares the Winnie-the-Pooh characters and illustrations to their literary ancestors in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book (1893). In so doing, it examines the significant parallels and differences between Kipling's work, written at the height of colonial enterprise in India, and Milne's work, which transplants a bear and tiger to the idyllic English countryside during a state of economic and imperial decline in the wake of the war.

Share

COinS