Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows: A Children's Classic at 100

Overview

In 1908, Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows was published to surprisingly little critical fanfare. But readers championed its cause, and Grahame's novel of a riverbank life soon proved both a commercial—and ultimately critical—success. One hundred years after its first publication, Grahame's book and its memorable characters continue their hold on the public imagination and have taken their place in the canon of children's literature. However, little academic criticism emerged in the wake of the book's ...
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Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows: A Children's Classic at 100

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Overview

In 1908, Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows was published to surprisingly little critical fanfare. But readers championed its cause, and Grahame's novel of a riverbank life soon proved both a commercial—and ultimately critical—success. One hundred years after its first publication, Grahame's book and its memorable characters continue their hold on the public imagination and have taken their place in the canon of children's literature. However, little academic criticism emerged in the wake of the book's initial publication. Only after the appearance of Peter Green's biocritical study did the academy begin to wrestle with Grahame's complex work, though many read it in terms of Grahame's often unhappy personal life. The essays in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows: A Children's Classic at 100 focus on recent discussions of the book in regards to class, gender, and nationality but also examine issues previously not addressed by Grahame criticism, such as the construction of heteronormative masculinity, the appeal of this very English novel to Chinese readers, and the meaning of a text in which animals can be human-like, pets, servants, and even food. This volume also revisits some of the issues that have engaged critics from the start, including the book's dual-strand narrative structure, the function of home, and the psychological connections between Toad and Grahame. Scholars of fantasy and children's literature will find great value in this collection that sheds new light on this enduring classic.
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Editorial Reviews

June 2010 CHOICE
Reflecting the contemporary trend of casting a scholarly eye on classic children's literature, this volume joins such titles as 100 Years of Anne with an 'E': The Centennial Study of Anne of Green Gables
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
This set of critical essays is Number 5 in the Children's Literature Association's "Centennial Studies" series about children's classics. Published in 1908, Wind in the Willows appeared at a time of re-evaluation of Empire and social issues in Britain. It has remained popular ever since; the editors believe that Grahame's story of Mole, Rat and Toad remains "one of the few canonical works of children's literature that continues to call to contemporary readers." The essays are grouped into three parts: "Competing Discourses," which includes discussions of dualisms and dialectics in the book; "Representations of the Edwardian Age" which is comprised of three essays that explore historical reflections of class, gender and nationality; and "Beyond the Text," which examines Wind's influence over time and in another culture. Students will, of course, find their own favorites among the studies. Especially interesting in Part I is Deborah Dysart-Gale's "Techne, Technology, and Disenchantment in The Wind in the Willows," describing conflict between the worlds of feeling and science (represented by boats, the motorcar, and the train). In Part II, Wynn Yarbrough's essay, "Animal Boys, Aspiring Aesthetes, and Differing Masculinities" addresses gender unease brought on by Oscar Wilde's trial and the unfitness of British soldiers in the Boer War. And before reading Shu-Fang Lai's "The Wind Blows to the East," who would imagine that Grahame's fantasy would (or could) be translated into Mandarin and engage young readers in Taiwan? This volume would make an erudite addition to any collection of critical studies in children's literature. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jackie C. Horne is a former children's book editor and assistant professor at the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College. Donna R. White is associate professor of English at Arkansas Tech University. She is the author of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan In and Out of Time: A Children's Classic at 100 (Scarecrow, 2006).
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction Jackie C. Horne Donna R. White|xi

Part I Competing Discourses 1

Chapter 1 Deus ex Natura or Nonstick Pan?: Competing Discourses in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows David Rudd 3

Chapter 2 Techne, Technology, and Disenchantment in The Wind in the Willows Deborah Dysart-Gale 23

Chapter 3 "Up [and Down and Back and Forth] We Go!": Dialogic and Carnivalesque Qualities in the Wind in the Willows Cathrine L. Elick 43

Chapter 4 It's a Mole-Eat-Hare World: The River Bank, the School, and the Colony Meg Worley 67

Chapter 5 A Contemporary Psychological Understanding of Mr. Toad and His Relationships in The Wind in the Willows Jonathan Mattanah 87

Part II Representations of the Edwardian Age 109

Chapter 6 "Animal-Etiquette" and Edwarelian Manners in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows Karen A. Keely 111

Chapter 7 Locating Englishness within the Commodity Culture of the Early Twentieth Century in the Wind in the Willows Ymitri Mathison 135

Chapter 8 Animal Boys, Aspiring Aesthetes, and Differing Masculinities: Aestheticism Revealed in The Wind in the Willows Wynn Yarbrough 157

Part III Beyond the Text 187

Chapter 9 The Wind Blows to the East: On Chinese Translations of Kenneth Graham's The Wind in the Willows Shu-Fang Lai 189

Chapter 10 The Pursuit of Pleasure in The Wind in the Willows and Disney's The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Jennifer Geer 215

Index 239

About the Contributors 257

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