reader ✓ The Wind in the Willows ↠ Hardcover

book õ The Wind in the Willows Å Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the WillowsYoung children to enjoy With beautiful illustrations throughout it provides the perfect introduction to a classic ta PART TWO OF PETER JACKSON'S THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS CONCLUSION Night Toad Hall interior STEPHEN FRY as TOAD and ORLANDO BLOOM as BADGER are in the middle of a wild melée with numerous STOATS and WEASELSBADGER It's no good Toad There's too many of them With a blow of his cudgel he knocks a WEASEL into the open fireTOAD We can hold them off Badger old chap EVANGELINE LILLY as a HOT BADGER BABE crashes through the window and lands next to themBADGER Choked with emotion You came backHOT BADGER BABE Badger For a moment they just look at each other A STOAT tries to take advantage of their inattention to sneak up on them from behind but TOAD grabs a carving knife from the dining table and wittily disembowels himBADGER Thanks Toad TWO MORE STOATS have meanwhile advanced on TOAD BADGER amusingly decapitates them with a single blow of his cudgelTOAD Nice work Badger Dissolve to the pantry where MARTIN FREEMAN as MOLE is frantically mixing something in a large bowl assisted by ELIJAH WOOD as RATTYMOLE Okay that's the sugar Now we need some fertilizerRATTY Will this horse shit do?MOLE It'll have to He dumps it into the bowl pours in the contents of a bottle then accidentally drops everything on the floorRATTY Oh dear A deafening explosion Clouds of smoke cover everything then we see letters superimposed on them saying PART THREE COMING NEXT CHRISTMASA REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF KENNETH GRAHAME What have we done?

Kenneth Grahame Å The Wind in the Willows kindle

E he discovers new friends and adventures with Raj Toad and BadgerThis much loved story has been carefully retold for Some of the best children’s classics have started with an adult inventing stories to tell to a child “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” “Winnie the Pooh” “Peter Pan” and even “Watership Down” all began this way as did many others The Wind in the Willows is another such Like them it is a novel which can be read on many levels and arguably has a hidden subtext And like some others its writing was prompted by a family tragedyKenneth Grahame had already established himself as a talented writer and had considerable literary success in the 1890s He regularly published stories in literary magazines These stories about a family of parentless children were collected in one volume called “The Golden Age” in 1895 He followed this up in 1898 with “Dream Days” a seuel which was even successful and established him as a writer with a special insight into childhood “Dream Days” itself included another children’s story “The Reluctant Dragon” Throughout his career he had published children’s books and a memoir of childhood He was successful and well known well before The Wind In The Willows was even thought ofKenneth Grahame had a child of his own Alastair to whom he felt very close He used to tell his son fanciful stories about wild animals who lived by the nearby river and in the “Wild Wood” When Alastair was about four years old Kenneth Grahame would tell “Mouse” his nickname for Alastair bedtime stories about a toad And whenever the two were apart his father would write tales about Toad Mole Ratty and Badger in letters to his young son AlastairKenneth Grahame’s own childhood at this age however was far from rosy He had been born in 1859 in Edinburgh His father was aristocratic; a failed lawyer who loved poetry—but who loved vintage claret even The drinking became worse when Kenneth Grahame’s mother Bessie died soon after she had given birth to his brother Roland Kenneth was just 5 when he and his three siblings went to live with their grandmother There they lived in a spacious but dilapidated home with huge grounds by the river Thames and were introduced to the riverside and boating by their uncle who was a curateWe can clearly see echoes of his childhood in The Wind in the Willows His grandmother’s decrepit house “The Mount” has transmogrified into the huge mansion “Toad Hall” and the book is redolent with riverside and boating scenes Kenneth Grahame was forced to move to and fro between the two adults when the chimney of the house collapsed one Christmas and shortly afterwards their father tried to overcome his drinking problem and took the children back to live with him in Argyll Scotland This brief sojourn only lasted a year before they all returned to their grandmother where Kenneth lived until he went to an Independent school in Oxford Whilst there he had the freedom to explore the old city as well as the upper reaches of the River Thames and the nearby countryside All this comes into The Wind in the WillowsThe young Kenneth did well at school and dreamed of going to university He was actually offered a place at the prestigious Oxford University and was set for high academic honours but it was not to be The family finances had dwindled so much that his father wanted him go into a profession straight from school Kenneth Grahame was therefore forced straight into work at the Bank of England and duly worked there for thirty years gradually rising through the ranks to become its Secretary In 1908 the year The Wind in the Willows was published he took early retirementAs a young man in his 20s Kenneth Grahame was a contemporary and friend of Oscar Wilde Although married and having a home in Berkshire during the week he shared a London home with the painter and theatre set designer Walford Graham Robertson Both were very involved with the gay community whose leading light at the time was Oscar Wilde Another connection with the gay community was through Constance Smedley a family friend who helped with the publication of The Wind in the Willows A year later she was to marry the artist Maxwell Armfield who himself was gayIt seems very possible that Kenneth Grahame was gay despite having a wife and child This was a time when homosexual acts were still illegal The novel can be read as having a gay subtext and passages such as the description of the ancient Greek god of the wild Pan are uite sensuous with descriptions of his “rippling muscles” One academic Professor Hunt the emeritus professor in English and children’s literature at Cardiff University suggests that the works were manifestations of a life which Kenneth Grahame longed for Whether this is conscious or not it is noticeably “a story of maleness and male companionship” with hardly a female in sight The only exceptions are the washerwoman the barge woman and the jailer’s daughter All of these are secondary characters and perhaps even significantly they are human not animalIt is the animals in this story who are the well nuanced fully developed characters; the humans are merely stock types who fill some of the minor roles Yes Badger is the wise teacher mentor or parent figure and one who is looked to for leadership but he has his own uirky faults His speech is described as “common”; he excitedly want to get his “grub” food And amusingly both Rat and Mole end up very confused as Badger insists “I want to learn ’em not teach ’em” when they are discussing teaching view spoilerthe stoats and weasels hide spoiler

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reader ✓ The Wind in the Willows ↠ Hardcover á There is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boatsWhen Mole flees his little underground home he discovers new friends and adventures with Raj Toad and BadgerThis much loved story has been carefully retold for young children to enjoy With beautifulThere is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boatsWhen Mole flees his little underground hom An Edwardian children's book that ends with the reimposition by force of the traditional suirearchical social order on the upstart lower orders as represented by Weasels Stoats and FerretsIt is a through introduction to traditional British conservatism of the Country Life rather than the Economist variety for children with a side order of mild paganism As such is an unwitting counterpoint to The Ragged Trousered PhilanthropistsAs with How to Read Donald Duck once you look at it and shrug off the view that it is just a children's book then the values on show are not so nice What is it that readers are asked to feel nostalgia for? This was published in 1908 before Lloyd George prepared his People's Budget in 190910 before The Parliament Act of 1911 and at the same time as women were agitating for the vote There are the book's Weasels Stoats and Ferrets so take up your cudgel to uphold Merrie Olde England and our ancestral rights to under occupied manor houses and the freedom to behave with some reckless abandonAlternatively we have the nostalgia of The Leisure Class our heroes are people who don't have to work who are so different from ordinary people that they don't even have to be human any and who can indulge themselves as they see fit save for the inexplicable unreasonableness of the lawUltimately it is what is as we all are in this particular case a homoerotic fantasy in which all the men and boys can go off and live an upper middle class life as animals by the river banks without having to deal with the conseuences of that decision the women will still be prepared to do the washing and the ironing apparently and indeed woe betide the creature that tries to interrupt this way of life The only duty is to one another infringement of privilege punishable by violence For all its emphasis on nature and the river it is a very inward looking book It is a closed off world the industrial urban society with a market economy is literally populated by a different species There are few things uite as curious and peculiar as the stories people would like children to delight in