ENTRY: Grahame, Kenneth
Kenneth Grahame (b. March 8, 1859 – d. July 6, 1932) was a
British writer, mainly of the sort of fiction and fantasy written for children, but enjoyed
equally if not more by adults. He is most famous for The Wind in the Willows (1908), one
of the classics of children's literature.
Grahame was born in Edinburgh, Scotland but in early childhood, after being orphaned,
moved to live with his grandmother on the banks of the River Thames in southern England.
He was an outstanding pupil at St Edward's School in Oxford and wanted to attend Oxford
University but was not allowed to do so by his guardian on grounds of cost. Instead
he was sent to work at the Bank of England in 1879, and rose through the ranks until
retiring as its Secretary in 1907 due to ill health.
Kenneth Grahame died in Pangbourne, Berkshire in 1932. He is buried in Holywell Cemetery,
While still a young man, Grahame began to publish light stories in London periodicals
such as the St. James Gazette. Some of these stories were collected and published as
Pagan Papers 1893, and, two years later, The Golden Age.
These were followed by Dream Days in 1898, which contains
"The Reluctant Dragon". These show Grahame's abiding interest in
There is a ten-year gap between Grahame's penultimate book and the publication
of his triumph, The Wind in the Willows. During this decade Grahame became
a father. The wayward headstrong nature he saw in his sickly little son he
transformed into the swaggering Toad of Toad Hall, one of its four
principal characters. Despite its success, he never attempted a sequel. The
book, shorn of its romantic fantasy, was made into a comic stage play by A.A. Milne as Toad of Toad Hall (1929).
The book The Wind in the Willows has been heavily censored in various ways over the years.
The British slang has been removed for the U.S. market, most of the references to things
British have been excised, all references to guns & knives have been cut, and
the entire chapter in which the characters meet the wild pagan 'god of nature' Pan ('The Piper at the Gates of Dawn') is usually cut out completely.
Pagan Papers (1893)
The Golden Age (1895)
Dream Days (1898)
The Wind in the Willows (1908)
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