Friday, July 10, 2009

Two Annotated Wind in the Willows

We recently celebrated the centennial of one of the great children's books of all time, Kenneth Graham's The Wind in the Willows. Though that event was last year, the festivities are continuing. Most recently there has been the publication of two commemorative annotated editions. One is by Seth Lerer for Harvard UP (the Belknap imprint, actually), and the other by Annie Gauger for Norton. 

Both of these editions were reviewed in today's New York Times by Charles McGrath. I don't agree entirely--or much at all--with his evaluation that the Toad material is the thematic center of the work; I myself was much more drawn into the elegiac, nostalgic portions involving Rat and Mole. But that is of course an eternal point of controversy. The point is that both new editions reveal much fascinating material amidst other moments of tedium (too much annotation, evidently, doth not a classic make). You can read the review here

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