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The Pooh Perplex Paperback – 11 Mar 2003

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; New edition edition (11 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226120589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226120584
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 546,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Frederick Crews is a professor emeritus of English at the University of California at Berkeley. His many books include "The Critics Bear It Away: American Fiction and the Academy," "The Random House Handbook" (currently in its sixth edition), and "Postmodern Pooh."

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
NO ONE in these days, I feel sure, will care to complain that there is a lack of critical attention to Winnie-the Pooh. Read the first page
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The idea of making people laugh by producing parodies of literary criticism does not seem a promising one. And yet "The Pooh Perplex" succeeds brilliantly. Taking Milne's well known stories, a range of different interpretations are developed: Christian Allegory (Eyore's birthday as the visit of the Magi), Marxist (these cannot be great stories as they do not feature Midlands' coal fields), Psychoanaltical (Kanga as castrating mother) and many more. Some are parodies of specific writers, such as FR Leavis, but you do not need to know this to enjoy the fun. You do need to have read the Pooh books for this to work but, if you have, then you will enjoy this enormously. It is great to see it back in print - long may it remain so!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9fe53510) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f2f21e0) out of 5 stars The Pooh Perplex 5 Dec. 2005
By Zoe Gibbons - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I first read The Pooh Perplex in the summer before my freshman year of college; my father presented it to me as an encapsulation of the reasons why he had abandoned his English major. I had not yet encountered Leavis, Crane, and the other critics so marvelously parodied in Crews's book, but I spent a good few hours shrieking with laughter at Myron Masterson's vision of Kanga as castrating "'Mom' figure" and Simon Lacerous's characterization of the bear himself as a flabby old Tory with a string of knightly titles and an overfondness for condensed milk.

Then I came to college and took a Literary Criticism and Theory class; with wonder, I recognized in my casebook more and more of the bizarre characters inhabiting Crews's topsy-turvy hermeneutic milieu. Oddest of all, I found that my reading of The Pooh Perplex had actually provided me with a fairly solid overview of structuralism, Marxist theory, and other critical concoctions my professor obliged me to imbibe. And when I gave Crews's work a second reading, I discovered a myriad of hilarities that had previously passed me by.

Though it is depressing that Crews's zany satire can help a student of literature grasp the principal critical theories of the past fifty years, I disagree with my father's justification for forsaking his major. Many critics unintentionally self-parody; to endure their bombast, the reader must absorb the good, dismiss the inane, and find in the ludicrous a scrap or two of humor. Fortunately, we have Crews to assist us with that last task. Satire is a dying art; read The Pooh Perplex to understand why it is still necessary.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f8b4144) out of 5 stars Brilliant and funny 30 Jan. 2006
By John Duncan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It was probably the publication of Postmodern Pooh, Frederick Crews's second venture into Pooh studies, that explains the renewed availability of The Pooh Perplex more than 40 years after its first appearance. But whatever the reason, it is an excellent thing that modern readers can get hold of it, both because it is a brilliant and witty book in itself and also because it makes a natural companion for Postmodern Pooh.

For those who have not met the book before it should be explained that it is a series of parodies of different styles of literary criticism (those that were fashionable in the 1960s) applied to Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, collected together as a "case book" of the kind that was then popular for elementary English courses, and accompanied by Questions and Study Projects prepared by the editor, ostensibly Crews himself, but in reality as much of a parody as the articles themselves.

No doubt one would need to be familiar already with the parodied styles to get the most from the book, but no matter; one can get a great deal of amusement from it without any specialist knowledge, and some of the sources are fairly obvious even to non-specialists, the Freudian analysis by "Karl Anschauung", for example, or the proletarian analysis by "Martin Tempralis". On the other hand, readers born since the book was written may not easily recognize F. R. Leavis thinly disguised as "Simon Lacerous".

The non-specialist reader will easily be tempted to believe that Crews is exaggerating. Surely no serious expert on English literature could really express some of the sillier ideas expressed in this book? Alas, he amply demonstrates with real quotations from real (and apparently serious) publications that they could and they did.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f20df90) out of 5 stars How dare this book ever be out of print? 13 Feb. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a brilliant send-up of the pretentious critiques that has masqueraded as literary criticism since pseudo-intellectualism was first invented by which mental-nonentities could parade as our moral superiors. Just read it. Absolutely convincing, and a breath of fresh air. You will love it - unless you are one of the poseurs, of course. But it will still be devastatingly funny.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f64c9cc) out of 5 stars Keep You In Confusion 10 Nov. 2009
By Kevin L. Nenstiel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Frederick Crews made his name back in 1963 with this punchy, sardonic parody of academic self-importance. Over 45 years later, it retains its power to cut to the quick. Though not laugh-out-loud hilarious, it has a wit that exposes truth to the light of day. Though it goes on a bit longer than is actually necessary to prove its point, it remains a reminder to those of us who work with words and ideas of why we need to be humble.

In his facetious introduction, Crews tells eager freshman that this book "is frankly designed to keep you in confusion." Since too many freshman texts to exactly that, this take is all too just. The satirical articles then go on to deflate the most pompous mid-century literary critics, including Lacan, Bloom, and Eliot. Some of the references may be dated, but even if we don't recognize all of Crews' individual targets, we know the type.

The paradoxical aspect is that this book could almost be used to teach how to do criticism correctly. By mocking what the various schools do wrong to make themselves ridiculous, Crews also shows how they can be made communicative and useful. That being the case, every English major should have a copy of this book thrust into their hands. Literate and dense, but readable and funny, this is a must for all of us working in the humanities.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f2f2708) out of 5 stars Excellent prose humor 25 Oct. 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
An hilarious parody of intellectual analyses of Winnie the Pooh. A must-read if you are tired of seeing "The Tao of Pooh," "The Tei of Piglet," etc.
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