Winnie the Pooh (in English :
Winnie the Pooh
) is a character from children’s literature created on by Alan Alexander Milne. The illustrations in the books are by Ernest Howard Shepard. The first French translation, Histoire d’un ours comme ça, by Jacques Papy, dates from 1946.
The character of Winnie, an animated teddy bear, was inspired by his son, Christopher, who he saw playing with his stuffed animals. In the same way that children make up stories for themselves, Winnie and her friends have adventures that may seem ridiculous to adults. The universe in which these characters evolve is kind and joyful without being without worries. The original version of Winnie the Pooh (without the red shirt) is in the public domain since .
The name Winnie was chosen by the author in reference to a bear resident at the London Zoo where he used to go with his son. The animal was donated to the zoo by Captain Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian in the Canadian army, during the First World War. Colebourn had tamed the bear and named her Winnipeg after his hometown. He bought it from a trapper in the town of White River, Ontario. It was not until 1989, after the official death of its creator, that the name Winnie The Pooh or Winnie the Pooh appeared on the screens.
In , a new edition of Winnie’s adventures was published simultaneously in England and the United States, written by David Benedictus and illustrated by Mark Burgess, with the agreement of the rights holders, which will extend the adventures of the bear and Jean-Christophe, his young owner.
A fluctuating French debut
Since its first French versions in children’s literature, the name Winnie the Pooh has been subject to various proposals, notably due to the difficulty of rendering the onomatopoeic term Pooh, the invented definite article “ther”, or the pronunciation of the feminine name Winnie. (and in particular this W that the French speakers of the time tended to Germanize into [v], as in wagon. “[…] before being called Winnie, the teddy bear is named the Martin Bear“, according to the French tradition”. Thus Pierre Martin’s 1962 translation of Plic-en-peluche. In Jacques Papy’s 1946 translation, Winnie was called Winnie-the-Pooh. The Gallimard Jeunesse reprints use the name Winnie the Pooh.
Winnie the Pooh is a yellow bear who is often described by the narrator of his adventures as “not very bright”. In fact, he is not necessarily very intelligent, but has a big heart, and helps his friends. His favorite sin is gluttony, he is particularly fond of honey, which will sometimes cause him some trouble, with the bees among others.
In his adventures, Winnie is most of the time surrounded by his faithful friends:
- Jean-Christophe (in English Christopher Robin), a child, is practically the only human represented.
- Tigger, bouncing and having fun seem to be his main occupations. We particularly note his carefree attitude, his joyful humor. He is very close to Little Guru who sees him as the big brother he would like to have.
- Porcinet(Piglet), he is mainly concerned with making his home cozy and comfortable. He is characterized by great shyness and anxiety.
- Coco Lapin(Rabbit), always busy growing vegetables in his garden. He also invents machines, organizes expeditions and plans to solve his friends’ problems… not always with great success.
- MasterOwl, from a huge family of owls who have all had experiences relevant to the problems they face. He represents wisdom but his explanations often seem very complicated to his friends.
- Great Guru(Kanga), the only female figure. She is a bit of a mother to all of them and sometimes called Mom Guru.
- Little Guru(Roo), son of Big Guru, he just wants to be bigger.
- Bourriquet(Eeyore), very pragmatic, his main challenge is to have a roof over his head… and to keep it! Also has a lot of problems with his tail that he often has to re-pin.
They all live in theHundred Acre Wood.
In the adventures imagined by the Disney studios, new characters appear:
- The Mole, who spends his time digging tunnels in the Forest of Blue Dreams. His name is Nibbles and in Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, he tries to help Winnie, who is trapped in Coco Rabbit’s vestibule for eating too much honey, by digging.
- Lumpy, an efelant. The animal species represented is of course the elephant and already appears in the original work in a nightmarish sequence of Winnie’s sleep.
- Darby, a 6 year old girl: Super Detective. Some say that she is Jean-Christophe’s little sister.
- Buster, Darby’s puppy. He too is a Super Detective. However, he cannot speak and can only bark.