If, like me, you are at a loss to understand some of the extremes of postmodern literary criticism, you will probably be highly amused by Frederick Crews’ Postmodern Pooh‘. Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, Roo and company are old family favourites and the most perceptive critic must surely agree that the antics of the animals of Hundred Acre Wood are innocence itself.
Frederick Crews creates a hypothetical symposium on Pooh where we are shown by the distinguished participants that we are deluded. We learn about the sexual politics of Pooh, the fissured subtext. We are told how Piglet appears to be borderline anorexic and sorely lacking in self-esteem and that his squeaky little voice all but spells i-n-s-e-c-u-r-i-t-y, and many more fascinating insights into what we assumed to be playful accounts of the interplay of the set of ragged toys of Christopher Robin Milne.
This text is a superb lampoon that is immensely reassuring if you, like me, feel awed by colleagues who spout about metanarratives, transcendental contradictions and the like. What’s more, it is very funny.
Frederick Crews is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of California, Berkely.