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Postmodern Pooh is a satirical work written by University of California, Berkeley professor Frederick Crews, purporting to be papers given at a symposium on Winnie-the-Pooh, each representing a caricature of a literary school. It was released in 2001, being a sequel to Professor Crews' 1963 work "The Pooh Perplex".

For those who have even been casually following the growth and nature of the academia, writing satires on academic papers is a much fatter target than it was in the early 1960s, and it was an easy enough target at the time. It has been some time since I read the earlier book, but from what I remember the satire in that book was somewhat gentler. This book seems to be a bit more pointed, as the tortured attempts by invented scholars to force feminism, recovered memories, post-colonialism and post-structuralism onto a children's book are mocked. It is, of course, a fun read, because it is hard to make Winnie-the-Pooh less than fun. Behind the fun, however, Crews does have an agenda, although not in a nefarious way.

There are a few slight issues I have with the book. The first is that some of the Winnie-the-Pooh content is hidden or glossed over. The original book seemed to be plausibly about Winnie-the-Pooh, and had some helpful information on it. This book seems to mostly use Winnie-the-Pooh as a starting point for the mocking of the views professed by the scholars within. This however, could be seen as part of the satire, as Frederick Crews anti-ego writes in the books conclusion that literary criticism is a shell game used to prove whatever the critic wants, which is mostly their own cleverness. Crews' could be purposely showing that scholars spend too much time reading into texts, and not reading them. The other criticism of this book is based on the best satire is always on the edge of failure. As I wrote before on Silver Age comic books and Spinal Tap, some things are impossible to satirize because the source material is already so exaggerated. Good satire takes something ridiculous and enhances the inanity just the right amount. However, Crews' satires might not work because it is hard to detect what separates these fictitious papers from papers that academics could plausibly present to the world. So whether Crews succeeds or fails is left up to the judgement of the reader.

At the very least, this work has everything that needs to be known about literary criticism, and a great deal of what needs to be known about Winnie-the-Pooh.

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