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The Wind in the Willows

 
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peter
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:28 pm    Post subject: The Wind in the Willows Reply with quote

Certainly one of my all time favourite books, I was inspired to read Graham's classic 'childrens' novel after hearing an Oxford don say on the radio, that if one wanted to get a sense of the 'feel' of Edwardian Britain, there was no better starting point than this book. Probably in my twenties at the time, I'd of course heard of the story, knew that it involved the adventures of some river animals and a toad, but that was about it. Finding the book shortly thereafter in a flea market or somewhere, I picked it up for a song and the rest is history. I was quite simply staggered at how good the story was, how engaging the characters (particularly of course the Toad) and the depths of feeling to which these simple tales, told in a meandering journey over a central story arc, could take me.
Talking with my wife earlier about how I believe the demarcation between children's, adolescent and adult novels was in my opinion a nebulous one, I had cause to refer to the book as an example, and had something of an epiphany that I think worth sharing. What I think, makes Graham's book so brilliant, such a work of high literature is not that the story can 'be read at different levels' by children and adults, with metaphor's and the like revealing themselves to adult audiences that are hidden from young readers. On the contrary, the work's true genius is in that it is exactly the same story that is read by adults and children alike, but that the emotional resonance that the writing is capable of producing does not 'plateau', but rather continues to increase into adulthood and indeed onward through life as experience furnishes one with the tools to mine it. The sheer power of the writing exhibited in The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Dulce Domum is in my opinion, of as high an order as anything written in adult fiction (or at least anything I have ever encountered) and would bring a lump to the throat of even the hardest of nuts to crack, and if you haven't yet experienced it then I recommend it as the very next book you read. In fact I recommend it in exactly the same way even if you have!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:04 am    Post subject: Re: The Wind in the Willows Reply with quote

peter wrote:
...I was quite simply staggered at how good the story was, how engaging the characters (particularly of course the Toad) and the depths of feeling to which these simple tales, told in a meandering journey over a central story arc, could take me.
That crazy toad! carving a mad pathway across the place...

Quote:
On the contrary, the work's true genius is in that it is exactly the same story that is read by adults and children alike, but that the emotional resonance that the writing is capable of producing does not 'plateau', but rather continues to increase into adulthood and indeed onward through life as experience furnishes one with the tools to mine it. The sheer power of the writing exhibited in The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Okay, let's stop RIGHT there.
I just got goosebumps and a tear in my eye reading the chapter title!!! So needless to say I agree.

Quote:
Dulce Domum is in my opinion
That canary in the cage!

And I can forget neither the food at their home nor the opening of packages in an early picnic scene.

Now I should see if any of your posts in the "Describe if you will, your idea of Heaven....." thread seem to be connected to either of those two chapters you mentioned!

Also, Orlion posted a delightful quote somewhere (here or in Gen Sci Fi / Fantasy) of a quote A.A. Milne* had made about the books.
I love it & may have replayed it for others, myself!


[* Edit: I may have written the wrong author rather than A.A. Milne at first.]
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Hi Linna!

I know that quote; it ends with him saying if ever he meets anyone new and he wants to break the ice, he does so by saying "If I could recommend a book........"

I'm the same Linna; just the title of the chapter is enough to start me 'filling up'! How did he do that! I'm clearly not as 'hard boiled an egg' as I like to think myself!

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poor old Mole.

Ah, I do love that book. Very Happy And I've always especially loved Toad's final realisation...of the entirely new form of arrogance that being humble can provide. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved and hated Toad.
Ratty, Mole and Badger all characterised something important to me.
I remember enjoying not again moments with Toad.
An important cracker which has never been given justice on the TV screen.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Toad was very like Billy Bunter, who also was egregiously bad - but had a core of genuine goodness that when it did come out, was all the more affecting because it was done so spontaneously. On the rare occasions he was brave or kind he never even realised he was doing anything special.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been meaning to read this book. So far, the closest I've come is seeing the Walt Disney 1949 animated movie The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Which I'm sure rates as "not good enough".
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started reading The Wind in the Willows to my daughter a few years ago now, it was given to her as a gift and I'd not previously read it.

Unfortunately it was a bit too wordy for her at the time; she wasn't quite the intended audience.

However I was struck by how beautifully written it was, and have vowed to try again at some stage - in fact my daughter has grown to be extremely clever and would probably appreciate it a lot more now ..
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cannot, cannot, stress enough to both of you how much you should do this! A life without The Wind in the Willows is a life only partially lived. Laughing
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kizza wrote:
An important cracker which has never been given justice on the TV screen.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wind_in_the_Willows_(1996_film)

John Cleese and Eric Idle and Terry Jones. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
I cannot, cannot, stress enough to both of you how much you should do this! A life without The Wind in the Willows is a life only partially lived. Laughing


well it is sitting there on my daughter's bookshelf - happily she is developing into an avid reader, so hopefully we can share the experience soon (we have 5-6 reasonably long books queued up already!)..
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How can you not tell us what books? Very Happy

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This book cleanses the windows of the soul and lets pure sunlight shine into the recesses...
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A small diamond in the firmament of mankind's creation, I second that Deer!
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