In 2013, University of Delaware Press published a collection of essays edited by my husband, Donald R. Wehrs. Emmanuel Levinas, whose views inform the literary criticism in the volume, believed that human nature was fundamentally ethical, that we are all “accused” by the Other, and this responsibility for the Other constitutes us as subjects.
I have an essay in this volume, “Milne and the Tonstant Weaders,” and just so you know, not only my husband, but the outside readers for the collection also liked it. Essentially, the essay repudiates readings of Milne as only colonizing (toward children and colonial others). I argue that viewing Milne through a Levinasian lens reveals his sociability and his ethical concern with others and with the dawning ethical subjectivity of his son and the children in his audience.
I have always loved Milne’s children’s books, and one of my favorite memories from my daughter’s early childhood is her laughing with delight and making me fall off her bed over and over to dramatize Pooh’s falling down the bee tree and flying “gracefully into a gorse bush.” So I am happy that Delaware has now released the collection with my essay in it in paperback. I hope it will be assigned more in courses and purchased by more libraries. I have read the whole volume, and I believe all the essays deserve wider exposure.