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The Annotated Wind in the Willows Paperback – 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: W.W Norton & Company (2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1615235299
  • ISBN-13: 978-1615235292
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #653,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

The book itself has a very good intro to the history of the book, the various printings and the illustrations and the settings etc.
David Deutsch
Annie Gauger's edition is very strong on bringing together in one place the finest of the illustrations from most of the previous editions of the work.
James Ellsworth
I bought it as a gift for a friend who I visit with often and we love to just open it to a page and see what the annotations have to say.
Linda M. Wirth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By John Gough on October 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Martin Gardner's classic "Annotated Alice" is indispensable. Annie Auger's "Annotated Wind in the Willows" is a good beginning, but needs serious revision before it attains classic status.
The book is beautiful.
The photos and samples of classic "Wind in the Willows" illustrators (up to and including Ernest Shepard's "standards") are superb.
The background information about Kenneth Grahame, his life and family, and the beginning of "Wind in the Willows" in his own turn-of-the-century life (a banker who became a Governor of the Bank of England, who was happier messing about in boats and rambling over the Downs like a bachlor), and in his bed-time tales and letters for his son Alistair, is outstanding.
The prefatory appreciation by Robin Jacques (famous for the talking-animal fantasy adventure series "Redwall") is interesting, but flawed in places. Jacques doesn't know "Wind in the Willows" as well as he might, fascinating though his views are.
Many of Annie Auger's annotations are spot on, and will shed light for readers who may not be familiar with Grahame's historical context (England in 1908, or shortly before), the language of the times, and the life of that era, upstairs and downstairs. The exquisite "Englishness" has cried out for sensitive annotation, particularly for modern readers more familiar with TVs, computers, and James Bond, or Harry Potter. You almost have to be a keen Dickensian, a Baker Street afficionado, or far from the madding crowd, or a Janeite, to be able to tune into some of Grahame's language.
But sadly some, even many, of Auger's annotations are misleading, and some are just plain wrong.
If only it were not so.
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41 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Mick McAllister on May 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's clear, from reading the reviews and then purchasing this book, that we are still in need of an Annotated Wind in the Willows, however unlikely that might seem with two in contention. The reviewers make a strong case that this is the good one, and I now have read both, so I beg to differ. Personally, I prefer the other edition, although I would hate to give up the information in this edition about Grahame's parenting challenge. Aside from that, however, the annotations here are incredible in their combination of frivolousness, irrelevance, and tone-deafness. The editor has done a passable job of linking Grahame's biography and milieu to the book, but the special pleading for some strange ideas cancels out my generosity.

Some examples:
The editor is determined to impose a homosexual subtext on WitW, but has nothing to work with except circumstantial evidence and innuendo. So the 'proof' is utterly unconvincing and even, at times, laughable. Grahame may have gone both ways, but no, I'm sorry, "Food is [not] sex." Not even points for trying. The question of whether Grahame was gay is a biographical question; as a way to reading WitW, it's ridiculous, and the editor does nothing to locate a textual basis for the idea.

In a related matter, the editor is equally determined to find a misogynistic subtext in the book, and simply misrepresents it to make her case. Her editorial comments on the gaoler's daughter, the washerwoman, and the barge woman make her case only at the expense of ignoring both the text and sensible reading. Inexplicably, she identifies Toad's point of view as Grahame's to make the misogyny work; no other character, nor the narrator, expresses any negative views of women.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By John D. Cofield TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Wind in the Willows was an instant classic when it was first published in 1908. Its author Kenneth Grahame was a courteous but reserved gentleman who had been an official in the Bank of England. Grahame went to work every day in the City of London, but his heart was in the countryside along the River Thames near his suburban home. He had a neglected upbringing, then married rather late in life and had only one child, a son whose physical and emotional problems were a continual source of concern for his parents. The Wind in the Willows grew out of a bedside tale that Grahame began telling his son (known as Mouse in the family) and then continued in a series of letters. Grahame had already written a couple of successful books about children, but The Wind in the Willows was to be his magnum opus. It has never been out of print since 1908, and it has been illustrated by some of the finest artists available, including E.H. Shepard and Arthur Rackham.

Annie Gauger's annotated edition takes this old treasure and enhances it immensely. There are an amazing number of illustrations, some depicting scenes from the book itself, with perceptive notes from Gauger pointing out differences in interpretation; as well as photographs of the Grahame family and their homes; the actual River Bank itself and environs; and the many men and women who either inspired some of the book's characters or who were instrumental in getting it published in the first place. Additionally, Ms. Gauger provides a wealth of information on the social and political influences behind the book, like the suffragettes and the expanding railway network, and on the many words and usages that were once common but have after a century fallen into obscurity.
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