Read The Pooh Perplex by Frederick C. Crews Online


In this devastatingly funny classic, Frederick Crews skewers the ego-inflated pretensions of the schools and practitioners of literary criticism popular in the 1960s, including Freudians, Aristotelians, and New Critics. Modeled on the "casebooks" often used in freshman English classes at the time, The Pooh Perplex contains twelve essays written in different critical voicesIn this devastatingly funny classic, Frederick Crews skewers the ego-inflated pretensions of the schools and practitioners of literary criticism popular in the 1960s, including Freudians, Aristotelians, and New Critics. Modeled on the "casebooks" often used in freshman English classes at the time, The Pooh Perplex contains twelve essays written in different critical voices, complete with ridiculous footnotes, tongue-in-cheek "questions and study projects," and hilarious biographical notes on the contributors. This edition contains a new preface by the author that compares literary theory then and now and identifies some of the real-life critics who were spoofed in certain chapters....

Title : The Pooh Perplex
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780525471608
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 150 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Pooh Perplex Reviews

  • Reese
    2018-12-09 00:55

    "Postpartum Poop" on THE POOH PERPLEXTHE POOH PERPLEX is an entertaining book that should be required reading for everyone about to join the ranks of graduate students studying literature. As Frederick C. Crews mocks approach after approach to the analysis of literature and smears the poop of the critics who have promoted these approaches, he also offers readers a mini-course in term-paper writing. Instead of enduring the pain of a hit-and-miss process of discovering the "tricks of the trade," a student who reads THE POOH PERPLEX can easily learn the conventions of literary criticism that must be honored if one cares to have his/her work treated respectfully. Of course, Crews does not identify them, but he does reveal them: (1)present pieces of scholars' poop;(2)point out foul odors, inconsistent textures, and incomplete or unsubstantial samples;(3)display one's poop and differentiate it from others' poop;(4)pulverize texts to add substance to one's poop;(5)leave the bathroom door open to set the stage for various productions of more poop.If only I had read Crews's satire / guide thirty-five years ago! Having not read it, I could only stare incredulously at my American Romanticism professor's assessment of my work: "It fails to really assert itself as having any purpose for existing." I was a "kid"; did I know that the existence of a response to an assignment had to be justified? When I was reading Crews's SINS OF THE FATHERS: HAWTHORNE'S PSYCHOLOGICAL THEMES, I should have been reading THE POOH PERPLEX because no one had yet taught me that I was not permitted to poop until I could make my poop look different from all other poop.

  • Liz
    2018-12-06 06:08

    This book is brilliant, but probably better if you've recently finished an English honors seminar on postmodern critical theory (which I had when I first read it). I found it in a thrift shop and fell in love. It contains several parodies of varying philosophies in literary criticism (e.g., Freudian, Marxist, etc.). It would be fun if it could be updated to include some of the antitheory theorists like the deconstructionists. Each essay is a poisonous little gem that lets you hate the critics even more than you hated them as a student, and laugh at them at the same time.

  • Myles
    2018-11-24 05:22

    Theses are trying times, but it always still OK to laugh.If ever you have a moment of doubt about what we do here on goodreads; if you have ever wondered what could possibly be said about your latest read that hasn't been said before, enter The Pooh Perplex. Written by Frederick C. Crews as a send-up of the pomposity of the then-current schools of literary thought (Lovejoy, Marx, Proust and more) and how they can seemingly tear apart anything they turn their pens to. The Perplex is a way out of seeing any piece of literature through one lens and deflates the idea of criticism for criticisms sake.Crews chose the perfect work to feature in his "case-study". The twelve essays come complete with discussion questions and research tips for the young scholar - suggesting even that after he's read through all the case-books and analyses he might check out the original work - if he has time. The Pooh books are rife with material for the bored scholar. Catching these essays individually it would be impossible to detect the joke, so thoroughly does Crews inhabit the characters of his scholars: Harvey C. Window, Woodbine Meadowlark, Simon Lacerus - 12 in all. They snipe at each other, debunk each other's theories and each of their contributions has a bio that scans well.I've read this several times and I still laugh when reading about Rabbit as the capitalist busybody working to keep everyone organized and downtrodden, Owl as either the obfuscating fog of the masses or the high-brow hero, Eeyore as Christ, Kanga as the fearful feminine energy dragging the Hundred Acre Wood out of its perpetual latency. Its amazing - and I discovered years and years after it came out - there's a sequel! On another note, I was shocked that there had been no quotes added. Get on it people!

  • Douglas Dalrymple
    2018-12-12 05:08

    A satiro-comical Tao of Pooh for the lit-theory set. Not everyone’s pot of honey, I suppose, but the bruised initiates of the discipline (former English majors and post-grads, mostly) will appreciate it. ‘A spelling champion and a master of flowery, empty rhetoric, Owl is the necessary handservant to the raw acquisitive passion of Rabbit, which badly needs to be cloaked in grandiosities. The friendship of these two intellectual thugs is a perfect representation of the true role of “scholarship” in bourgeois-industrial society: the end purpose of Owl’s obscure learning is to spread a veil of confusion over the doings of the fat cats, to cow the humble into submission before the graven idols of “objective truth” and “the Western tradition,” and to rob the proletariat of its power to protest.’Maybe I’m wrong to restrict its appeal. Is it possible not to laugh out loud at this?

  • talkingtocactus
    2018-11-18 02:58

    Read this for a paper, it's one of the funniest things I've read in ages. When you're laughing out loud in public, you know you're doing well. Fake critical essays on the philosophy of Pooh, from Freud to Nietzsche, and its role in education, literary theory and so on - very entertaining. The (made up) names & biographies of the various essayists & the study questions for each section are great too. I've had to read other books on Pooh and philosophy that have been far less entertaining.

  • Danielle Routh
    2018-12-08 05:57

    As a big fan of both Winnie-the-Pooh and satire, I absolutely adored this book and frequently found myself laughing out loud at the absurd reaches and conclusions each "scholar" came to. Favorite interpretations were Marxism, sacrament, and "Poisoned Paradise: The Underside of Pooh." Milne's works are the perfect canvas for lighthearted mockery of just how ridiculous some scholarship has become.

  • Vanessa
    2018-11-27 23:09

    Attempts to answer in a scholarly way why Winnie the Pooh is inherently revered by modern children and adults . Presents some perculiar literary points of view , but the the question is really never answered . I may read it again .

  • Duncan Smith
    2018-11-24 05:08

    This is one of the funniest books I've ever read. Brilliant.

  • Christoph
    2018-11-27 02:58

    I get it. Post-modernisms rejection of meaning has hilarious consequences. So lets take the ideal post-modern subject, a freaking children's nursery rhymes collection, and subject it to the same critical analysis subjected to so many haute literature. For the early days of post-structuralism, I am sure this is both cutting-edge and funny. Hip if you will. And the satire is laid bare (pun intended!) in this collection of The Onion-style essays, but at the end of the day I have to ask the question: Why? What exactly is the object of the satire? It is definitely not Pooh, it would seem to imply academia, but even then it would have to be a specific subset of this class. Moreso, it is an attack on the fads of thought and how they cheapen true critical analysis which is not shown here to be serious business.Each of the twelve essays utilize a different argumentative technique to show the vacuousness of many thinkers out there. From the overly jargon-laid write-up, to the tabloid style, to the phallus, the greatest hits of logic fails are paraded out for the purpose of exposing Winnie the Pooh as the most debaucherous or complex or covert piece of literature since Homer. The pieces are short and not sweet in the slightest. The pompous, snide, ridiculous accusations contained are a perfect counterpoint to the reality of it all.This definitely didnt blow me away, and left me scratching my head a little bit. Yes this is an outdated vernacular and subject, but sometimes its good to remind yourself how silly the whole game is.

  • Wayne
    2018-12-11 22:12

    In 1972 when I found that "Hamlet" was one of 3 Shakespearean tragedies I was to study in my Final Year of English Lit at Sydney Uni, I was delighted to find a filmed version of the play by the Great Russian Director Kozintsev was being given a single showing.I went. And everything went downhill from there.Why??The film was FANTASTIC!!!...see it!!A play is meant to be seen in performance, not read.And then there are the Academic Literary Critics!!!I was reading a Signet Classic of the play and along with lots of great footnotes and translations of obscure or redundant vocabulary, they had kindly printed several critical essays.The BIG issue was Hamlet's maddness, or was he???There was the Freudian analysis and others whose views I have happily suppressed!!To read them was a nightmare.To read them was to kill the wonderful film.I came to treasure Oscar Wilde's summation of Hamlet's critics:"Are Hamlet's critics mad or are they only pretending to be?"Crew's book is THE REVENGE in the name of all those who have suffered.As the Daily Mail commented on Crews' "absolutely withering destruction of the abuses of academic criticism":'..deadly smash-hits on many paper palaces of literary flatulence.'And BEST OF ALL, in the tradition of "revenge is sweet" it is all very VERY FUNNY!!!!

  • Mona
    2018-11-29 03:59

    This was interesting but since it has been eons since I have read the Winnie the Pooh books. So it was difficult to assess the validity of these various essays and their interpretive positions. This book of criticism was compiled in the 60s which I had to keep in my mind in terms of their positions. No women critics, interpretations from a white, male, heterosexual perspective. Oddly most of the critics are American - odd since WTP is so quintessentially British. Without being able to check the assertions in the essays against the text (didn't have WTP handy) I had to evaluate them just against a my general knowledge and common sense. Most of them were really pretentious and spoke in circles. Many had some far out ideas such as Eeyore as a Christ figure, underlying homoeroticism in the character of Tigger or class warfare overall. If anything it made me realize I need to reread WTP.

  • Nancy
    2018-11-13 05:14

    The premise of the book is simple: The Pooh Perplex is a case study of various critical approaches to Winnie the Pooh and, in some cases, the House at Pooh Corner. I must admit, it's brilliantly done, and the pompousness and God-complexes of some of the literary voices he was imitating are beautifully caricatured. My only complaint is with the sheer unreadability of the book at times. I think that it would have greatly benefited from more footnotes, especially since the "voices" seemed to know that they were far more educated than their audience. With that being said, almost all of the approaches, including the ones that would have failed a Freshman Comp 101 assignment, added something to my perception of Pooh, and that made it, in the end, worth the tedious work of reading the text.

  • Sarah
    2018-12-12 01:22

    I bought this at a used book store in DC last week and read it in just a couple days. It is a satirical work, parodies of literary criticism. It was a fun look into different ridiculous critiques of Winnie the Pooh. Some I skimmed because they went totally above my head (as I am not an English or Lit major), but others I absolutely loved. For example this passage is from the articleA Bourgeois Writer's Fableby Martin Tempralis- "It is hardly fortuitous that all the chief actors are property owners with no apparent necessity to work; that they are supplied as if by miracle with endless supplies of honey, condensed milk, balloons......a series of tales in which every trace of social reality, every detail that might suggest some flaw in the capitalist paradise of pure inherited income, has been ruthlessly suppressed"

  • Rhonda Keith
    2018-11-18 23:58

    If only I had discovered this 1963 book when I was in graduate school, a lot of things would have been clearer. Professor Crews wrote a collection of essays in the style of various literary critics representing popular approaches to literature, the Freudian, the Marxist, the Proustian, and so on. He used the typical freshman composition casebook structure, essay plus questions for discussion, which would permit the student to "become more and more broadminded as time goes by" as long as he doesn't settle on any "truth". Illustrated with sketches from the book dissected, Winnie the Pooh>. A must for any English major or literary critic, this book was followed years later, in 2003, by Crews' equally brilliant Postmodern Pooh>.

  • Hollis
    2018-12-02 05:15

    A highly amusing satire of academic bookchat. Everything is here, from the ''full analyis'' to the dodgy translation of an even dodgier Freudian essay. Actually, the scary thing is that this isn't really too far off the mark if you think about it: I bet if I removed the blurb I could put this on the reading list for the course in ''Children's Literature'' at my university and it would be a while before anyone realised that it was a satire. In fact, I once read a serious article in which a teacher applied all the various literary theories in order to interpret the story of the Three Pigs. Be afraid.Recommended to a few people who were doing modules on Children's Literature on their degree course as light relief, and they all found it amusing.

  • Mama K
    2018-11-17 05:19

    Though I know some might not "get" this book, I LOVED it. This one meets the criteria for "book published year you were born" for my 2015 reading challenge, but I laughed so hard reading this.As an English education major, I suffered through the arrogance and b*shit of Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Marshall McLuhan....I do believe the study and interpretation of literatureis important, but I believe sometimes we forget that some books, like Winnie-the-Pooh are juststories to enjoy and not pick apart with pedantic rhetoric. I recommend this book for any literary scholar who takes himself seriously, for any literature student who wants a goodlaugh.

  • Angie Schoch
    2018-11-17 23:13

    This book is a parody on literary criticism, including twelve essays by fictitious authors writing from different critical vantage points. I really loved this! Particularly I enjoyed the "essay" by the critic who basically thought all English literature was unreadable, except D.H. Lawrence. Another favorite was the Marxist criticism of Winnie the Pooh, which includes such great descriptions as one of "Pooh Goes Visiting," "in which Rabbit, having deceitfully offered Pooh admittance to sample his overstocked larder, artfully traps his victim in the doorway and exploits him as an unsalaried towel rack for an entire week."

  • Sarah (Gutierrez) Myers
    2018-11-28 03:10

    In this little "casebook" purporting to be a series of critical essays on Winnie the Pooh, Frederick Crews has a field day with various schools of literary criticism. One supposed "critic" determines that A. A. Milne had a phobia of bears (signifying even deeper sexual obsessions in the subconscious), while a Marxian "critic" finds bourgeoisie prejudices through which the ultimate, "inspiring" triumph of socialist ideals still comes through, and yet another manages to demonstrate that Christopher Robin "is an enemy of everything that is decent, alive, and morally serious."This is satire at its best--a must-read for all those with an interest in honest appreciation of literature.

  • Heidi
    2018-11-28 06:05

    The whole book is worth it solely on the basis of the essay: "O Felix Culpa! The Sacramental Meaning of Winnie-the-Pooh" by C. J. L. Culpepper, D.Litt., Oxon. (a.k.a. Crews...all of them are.) After Identifying Pooh as the second Adam who, in pursuit of forbidden honey proceeds to "fall" from the honey tree, he goes on to argue the case that Eyeore represents the Savior, "the Lowly One, the Despised, Acquainted with Grief." Even his footnote references the "Vulgate Pooh" Winnie Ille Pu, A. A. Milnei, are supremely amusing. (And yes, there really is a version of Winnie-the-Pooh in Latin...I've checked. And I want one.)

  • nicebutnubbly
    2018-11-23 06:07

    This was the book that made me realize I didn't want to be an academic. Full of hilarious "scholarly" studies of Winnie-the-Pooh, from Marxist to Freudian to queer. Each one is damningly plausible, and many read better than a lot of the "serious" scholarship that I've read. Hilarious, and yet a little close to the bone if you spend a lot of time in English departments. Fredrick Crews was mean to my mother once when she was at Berkeley, so buy it used if you have to buy it, but it's such a great read.

  • Chanel Earl
    2018-12-10 22:04

    This book is hilarous, and it does a great job at pointing out how silly literary criticism can be. I loved the translated section that retained all of the grammar form its original language. I loved the critics who admitted that they hadn't even read the articles they were citing, and I loved how 13 very different interpretations were treated as difinitive even though they disagreed with each other in so many ways. I heard the sequel is great to and hope I can read it soon.

  • Mimi
    2018-12-03 06:22

    Embarrassingly, I didn't realize that this was satire when I bought it, but what great satire it was. A collection of essays that skewers literary criticism with fake critiques of Winnie-the-Pooh. It's all here - Marxist, Freudian, religious symbolism, and the text of a faux lecture. For me, the most brilliant part was the essay questions at the end.Like much of satire, it's a bit uneven, some of the essays work better than others. However, the ones that are spot-on are so brilliant.

  • Jason
    2018-11-30 04:05

    Perhaps the best constructed satire I've ever read. The author evaluates Winnie-the-Pooh from the classic perspectives of literary criticism and does a fantastic job of capturing the tones of those perspectives while also being hilariously over-the-top. Crews goes so far as invent fictional authors for each essay and writes a brief bio blurb for each one.My favorite "essay" was definitely the Marxist analysis.

  • Michael
    2018-12-08 22:23

    The one book on my bookshelf I would rescue if the house was on fire. Not just funny, not just intelligent, this is that rare book that proves that the deepest messages can come from the simplest of tales. Ought to be required reading for every pretentious smarty-pants (guilty here), if only to teach them to laugh at themselves more often.

  • J C Landwer
    2018-11-20 23:21

    I've given a rating of four stars when it should probably receive 5. I particularly enjoyed A la recherché du Pooh perdu by Woodbine Meadowlark. Gotta love the name. Very witty with great pokes at pretentious poofs by a pretentious poof. Fun.

  • Chattery Teeth
    2018-11-14 02:16

    A delightful collection of satirical essays where fictional persons take hilarious, and sometimes obtuse observations on the Winnie the Pooh stories. Someone with a love for language, or simple enjoys A.A. Milne's little Bear of very little brain will delight in these musings.

  • Richard Bentley
    2018-12-10 05:05

    This parody of a freshman casebook is superb, with a collection of "essays" that range from the incisively vindictive to the slapstick. Mr. Crews has an unerring accuracy when he skewers the various species of literary "analysts".

  • Rachel
    2018-11-21 06:19

    A hilarious satire of ridiculous literary criticism. Each chapter is a separate essay on Milne's Winnie-The-Pooh by fictional professors (with stereotypical quirks, like the one guy obsessed with DH Lawrence).

  • Adrielle Stapleton
    2018-11-23 04:20

    Humorous essays that demonstrate the various camps of literary theory by applying their critical lens to Pooh. Extremely well-written. Laugh out loud funny, if you have a master's degree in English.

  • Rage
    2018-11-16 06:04

    found this by accident at the library, what a treasure. such sass.the only problem I had is that some of the essays are written so "well" (the freudian one, for example) that reading them is as annoying as it is entertaining.