Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Kenneth Grahame

Kenneth Grahame's status as a classic children's author rather obscures the fact that he's also one of the great masters of English prose. I've been reading The Golden Age and Dream Days and will almost certainly have to move on to a re-read of The Wind in the Willows. The earlier books have been put in the shade by the acknowledged masterpiece but they have everything it has- apart from talking animals- with the bonus of a deep and subtle understanding of children and how they think and act. The writing itself is a joy- effortlessly sliding up and down the registers- taking in everything from the witty and mock-heroic to a visionary strain that has me thinking of Traherne. Grahame was a Yellow Book man, and there's a touch of the fin de siècle about his style; no doubt he'd read his Pater and his Yeats and his Wilde- but unlike those guys he never seems to labour at his effects. The sentences flow freely, with touches of the demotic and conversational to keep them earthed. Whatever he attempts he succeeds at.

He was a natural: he wrote the Wind in the Willows as a series of letters to his son, for heaven's sake! How odd then that he wrote so little. If you exclude the occasional writings, the introductions to other people's books and suchlike, he has a mere four books to his credit. But what books!

  • In The Valley Of Elah

    Now that the nights are drawing in I want to be watching movies in the evening. I scroll through the lists of movies that Amazon Prime makes…

  • A Moment Of High Drama

    My mother is going upstairs in her stair lift and the cat is going downstairs. They meet in the middle. "Stop," I yell to Ailz who has…

  • The Cottages At Cuckmere Haven

    Showing the Coastguard cottages at Cuckmere Haven from the other side- and how close they now are to a cliff edge that is steadily eroding.

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.