Bear of very little brain translated into Latin

Winnie Ille Pu is Alexander Lenard’s Latin translation of A.A. Milne’s children’s book about a fictional bear with the English name of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Winnie Ille Pu soared to #7 on the bestseller list for 1961, garnering the distinction of being the only work written in Latin to ever make The New York Times bestseller list.

Lenard was a refugee, Hungarian-born doctor who spent seven years working on the translation. Unable to find a publisher, he paid to have the first copies printed himself.  Edwin McDowell did a retrospective on Lenard’s work for The New York Times in 1984.

Lenard’s translation has disappeared from public library shelves, but a paperback edition can be found online. It may also be available for some e-readers.

I won’t attempt to review Lenard’s work.  I don’t do reviews of non-English books; my linguistic skills are barely enough to get me through the quoted foreign passages in a 1930s novel.

My own copies of the Milne children’s classics are in English. I dig them out about once a year and read them through again just for the fun of it. It you know only the Walt Disney version, you are missing out  on a great read.


© 2011 Linda Gorton Aragoni


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Linda Aragoni

I read. I write. I think. I make big ideas simple. I help teachers teach expository writing to teens and adults. In my free time, I read and review old novels.

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