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The Wind in the Willows.
London, Methuen 1931. FIRST ERNEST SHEPARD ILLUSTRATED EDITION. 8vo. Publisher's gilt decorated green cloth, pictorial 'map' endpapers, advertisement catalogue to rear. In original pictorial dust-wrapper. An attractive copy, with some browning and spots to both book and jacket, very light toning to the spine panel. A handsome copy of a children's classic. Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932), banker, essayist and successful author of 'The Golden Age' (1895) and 'Dream Days' (1898), had effectively given up writing by the turn of the twentieth century, much to the disappointment of his publisher. He did, however, continue to make up stories for the amusement of his only son, the partially-sighted Alistair, known as 'mouse'. The first such story was requested by the child, who asked for a bedtime story about 'a rat, a mole and a giraffe.' Grahame was supposed to be downstairs, attending to his dinner guests, but instead told a story about animals having a picnic by the river. The maid overheard the story and later told Elspeth (Mrs. Grahame) about it. The stories continued and a 'Toad' character developed. When Mouse went away in 1907 the tales continued in correspondance. The maid, showing considerable foresight, preserved all the letters, which chronicle Mr Toad's adventures in almost the same words they would later be published in, under the title 'The Wind in the Willows'. The letters make up the second half of the book, in which Toad steals a motorcar and lands himself in prison, only to be saved by the kindly gaoler's daughter. Listed in The Observer; All-Time 100 Best Novels [2003], also Modern Library; Top 100 Novels [1998], BBC Big Read (200 Best Novels) [2003]. Book Collector No.271, 'The Great Illustrators'.
      [Bookseller: Adrian Harrington]
Last Found On: 2013-11-29           Check availability:      Direct From Bookseller    

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