Sunday, 20 July 2008

THE WIND in the Willows

Looking through GB’s bookshelves a few weeks ago I came across this copy of “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame. This is the copy we had at home when I was a tiny tot. Mum obviously had it from when she was at Calder High School around 1924. It was my favourite book for many years and I read it time and again.

The Wind in the Willows is a classic of children's literature, first published in 1908. Alternately slow moving and fast paced, it focuses on four anthropomorphised animal characters in a pastoral version of England. The novel is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie. The Wind in the Willows is alleged to have been saved from obscurity by the then-famous playwright, A. A. Milne, who loved it and adapted a part of it for stage as Toad of Toad Hall in 1929. (But note that Mum had it as a school text at least five years earlier - I have no doubt it would have become a classic without the adaptation.) The book made Grahame's fortune, enabling him to retire from his bank job, which he hated, though it was respectable and well-paid. He moved to the country, where he spent his time by the River Thames doing much as the animal characters in his book do; namely, as one of the most famous phrases from the book says, "simply messing about in boats".

1 comment:

  1. I do love the wind in the willows. It's one of only two books that I have 3 copies of, the other being Fitter, Fitter and Blamey.


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