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The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Friday, 13 July 2012


For reasons that are likely to be of little interest to anybody I have been reading A. A. Milne's delightful autobiography It's too late now. Milne was a much more interesting man than you might think and in the 1920s was primarily a playwright writing  in the style that reached its apogee with Coward. For a boy from what Orwell would later describe as the lower-upper-middle classes Milne became extraordinarily well connected with the establishment cultural elite, mainly through the good luck of becoming the editor of  The Granta. This gave him a string of connections to the Punch Table which eventually landed him the Assistant Editorship. Marrying the God-daughter of the Editor probably also helped a bit, though he seems to have had little time for his wife's family the ueber intellectual de Selincourts.
Towards the end of the book he gets into Colonel Blimp mode and laments the decline of standards ( he is writing in the late 30s):

"...in sport you can only feel superior to the champions of the past by beating them at their own game and under their own rules. In the arts you can denounce the target, change the rules, aim in a different direction, hit nothing, and receive the assurances of your friends that you are the better man."

He could have been describing contemporary British sociology.