Cambridge comes unstuck on Winnie the Pooh

29 March 2021

9:14 PM

29 March 2021

9:14 PM

Oh dear. Over the weekend, Cambridge University’s Twitter account celebrated the graduation of its most recent cohort with some pearls of wisdom that it attributed to one of its former students – AA Milne, the creator of Winnie Pooh.

Milne graduated from Trinity College Cambridge with a B.A. in Mathematics at the beginning of the twentieth century and it was to him that the social media staff turned for inspiration, writing in a now deleted tweet:

‘Congratulations to everyone graduating from #Cambridge in absence today! Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – AA Milne (Trinity, 1900)

A nice sentiment but unfortunately not quite accurate. Leaving aside the dubious use of the Oxford comma and the difficulty in finding someone from Cambridge who was ‘smarter than they think’, would Milne have used the Americanism ‘smarter’ in place of the more traditional ‘cleverer’?

As Pooh fanatics were quick to point out the quote actually comes from the 1997 Disney film ‘Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin’ – a mere 41 years after Milne’s death in 1956. The screenplay itself was written by Karl Geurs and Carter Crocker, which means they (not Milne) are the authors of this quote.

Mr S wishes the graduating students of Cambridge better luck in being ‘smarter than you think’ than their alma mater.<//>

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