Christopher Milne/Little Lord Fauntleroy/reading aloud

minnow at minnow at
Tue Nov 11 19:02:38 EST 2003

Sarah wrote:

>I read that Christopher Milne was so mortified by his depiction in his
>father's books that he spent his life trying to be extra manly and died
>early and tragically as a result... or was that the boy 'Little Lord
>Fauntleroy' was based on? Perhaps they both did it.

Little Lord Fauntleroy, if one actually reads the book rather than thinking
of a picture with extreme ringletness probably painted by Millais or
someone, was a very manly chap, downright brave and so forth, and this is
frequently remarked by the author... :-)  So he probably wouldn't have had
to prove it, since he already was it.

I *think* Christopher Milne ran a bookshop in Dartmouth for a long, long
time, and had a son who was in some way handicapped to whom he devoted much
of his time, and was too busy just being to be such a prune, but I might be
wrong.  It's a *long* time since I read that autobiography.  He'd be 80
this year if still alive, being that he's the same age to the day as my
respected Papa, or so my respected Papa always claimed when explaining why
he would read those books and no others to us.  He thought *Now We Are Six*
was written for him personally when he was six, it seems.

Speaking of reading books to people: Neil Gaiman was doing a signing in
Bristol this evening, and he says he reads to his daughter Maddy (she must
now be ten, I think) every night he's at home, and much of what he reads to
her is DWJ's work.  He handed DWJ the newish *Sandman* collection over tea
and told her that she was certain to know that one of them had been written
while he was reading *Dogsbody* to Maddy, so he thought he'd tell her
first!  He also said that he had missed several important points in *Howl*
when he read it for himself not aloud, and that reading DWJ aloud is much
the best way to do it, because then one doesn't accidentally skip any bits
of her plotting.  He hasn't yet read Merl himself because he is waiting to
read it to Maddy.

Maybe reading aloud to oneself if one doesn't have a child the right age to
be read to would work.  Or at least moving one's lips while reading.


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