Read Along,  Show Notes

Episode 131: “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame, Part 1

Welcome back to The Literary Life podcast and our new series on The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Angelina, Thomas and Cindy set out to introduce this book in its historical and literary context, as well as address a few of the challenges people may have on their first reading of The Wind in the Willows. They also discuss some other pertinent topics such as Edwardian cultural concerns, the form of this novel, the rebirth images in the opening chapters, and the echoes of this book in other literature.

Cindy’s 2022 Morning Time for Moms Summer Discipleship group is now open for registration. The theme this year is “Laughter and Lament.” Head over to to find out more and sign up!

Thomas will be teaching a webinar on Napoleon Bonaparte later this month, as well as an introductory course on Russian Literature in July 2022. Learn more and register at

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Commonplace Quotes:

There is no vice so simple but assumes/ Some mark of virtue on his outward parts.

William Shakespeare, from The Merchant of Venice

A boat will not answer to the rudder unless it is in motion. The poet can work upon us only as long as we are kept on the move.

C. S. Lewis, from his Preface to Paradise Lost

One does not argue about The Wind in the Willows. The young man gives it to the girl with whom he is in love, and, if she does not like it, asks her to return his letters. The older man tries it on his nephew, and alters his will accordingly. The book is a test of character. We can’t criticize it, because it is criticizing us. But I must give you one word of warning. When you sit down to it, don’t be so ridiculous as to suppose that you are sitting in judgement on my taste, or on the art of Kenneth Grahame. You are merely sitting in judgment on yourself. You may be worth: I don’t know, but it is you who are on trial.

A. A. Milne

Sonnet to the River Otter

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Dear native brook! wild streamlet of the West!
How many various-fated years have passed,
What happy and what mournful hours, since last
I skimmed the smooth thin stone along thy breast,
Numbering its light leaps! Yet so deep impressed
Sink the sweet scenes of childhood, that mine eyes
I never shut amid the sunny ray,
But straight with all their tints thy waters rise,
Thy crossing plank, thy marge with willows grey,
And bedded sand that, veined with various dyes,
Gleamed through thy bright transparence! On my way,
Visions of childhood! oft have ye beguiled
Lone manhood’s cares, yet waking fondest sighs:
Ah! that once more I were a careless child!

Book List:

The Golden Age by Kenneth Grahame

Dream Days by Kenneth Grahame

The Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit

Kim by Rudyard Kipling

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J. M. Barrie

Cautionary Tales for Children by Hilaire Belloc

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Our Island Story by H. E. Marshall

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

P. G. Wodehouse

Leisure the Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

Kenneth Grahame: A Biography by Peter Green

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