Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Tonstant Weader Fwowed Up
On October 20, 1928, Dorothy Parker reviewed "The House at Pooh Corner" in the New Yorker magazine. It was an inspired pairing. A. A. Milne was a cozy writer most famous for light verse about bunnies and honeybees. Parker was the most savage wit of the Algonquin round table, whose remarks were avidly recorded by the New York columnists. Parker's book reviewing byline was Constant Reader. Not surprisingly Parker found Milne's book about stuffed animals painfully twee, and she decided to say so in the appropriate baby voice. When she got to the part where Pooh is feeling "hummy" she announced that "Tonstant Weader fwowed up." But books of this type are immune to sarcasm. Pooh's devotees thought Parker was just being mean. A new book of Pooh stories has just appeared, with a new author channeling Milne's sensibility and a new illustrator imitating the inimitable Shepard. Ms. Parker is no doubt throwing up in her grave. Dorothy Parker appears six times in A Book of Ages, Christopher Robin Milne also appears six times.