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Kenneth Grahame (1859 -1932)

Kenneth Grahame (1859 -1932) and The Wind in the Willows

The stories of Toad, Mole and Ratty that make up The Wind in the Willows were written by Kenneth Grahame in a series of letters to his son, Alistair. Grahame had already been making up adventures for these characters as bedtime stories for Alistair as early as 1904 but they weren’t published as The Wind in the Willows until 1908.

The stories were not well received initially but grew in popularity after President Theodore Roosevelt asked that it be published in America.

They were inspired by Grahame’s own childhood when he lived as a boy with his grandmother on the banks of the river Thames. They celebrate the simple pleasures of walking, boating, eating and fire sides. They reflect Grahame’s dislike of the modern mechanical age and present an idyllic vision of England that was probably already dated when he first told the stories if it ever really existed. They sit in an uncomfortable paradox between the lure of adventure that the open road and wide world presents and safety and comfort of home.

 

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