Magazine April 6, 2009, Issue

Golden Idyll

Meghan Cox Gurdon celebrates The Wind in the Willows

When Charles Scribner was shown a copy of the manuscript that would become The Wind in the Willows, he experienced a sense of profound disappointment. This wasn’t at all, he felt, what American readers would want from Kenneth Grahame, the noted English writer of essays. The bucolic adventures of Ratty, Mole, and Mr. Toad were, moreover, “altogether lacking in human interest,” Scribner wrote in a rejection letter to Grahame’s agent.

Amazingly, Scribner seems to have been brought to his senses by no less a literary critic than Theodore Roosevelt. Grahame knew the American president had enjoyed his earlier work, so he

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In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Shelf Life

According to David Rooney’s new guide to Knox’s works, the book Knox wanted on the desert island was a Bradshaw railway schedule, next to the Bible.


The Week

The Week

Somebody should advise the suave diplomats in the Obama administration that the most reassuring symbol of U.S.-Russia relations isn’t a big red button.
Happy Warrior

Old School

Maybe the president can spend enough of our money to halt the degradation of infrastructure. The degradation of citizenship will prove harder to reverse.


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