Wind in the Willows

Kenneth GRAHAME   |   A. A. MILNE

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Item#: 124668 price:$45,000.00

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(MILNE, A.A.) GRAHAME, Kenneth. The Wind in the Willows. Illustrated by Ernest Shepard. London: Methuen, [1931]. Small quarto, original half cloth, paper spine label, uncut. Housed in custom cloth chemise and slipcase. $45,000.

An exceptional association copy of the signed limited first illustrated edition of this wonderful children's classic, presented to A.A. Milne, one of only 200 copies signed by both Kenneth Grahame and Ernest Shepard, author and illustrator. This copy an out-of-series association copy, with presentation inscription from the publisher to Winnie-the-Pooh author Milne on the limitation leaf above Grahame and Shepard’s signatures: "This is a presentation copy for A.A. Milne."

Kenneth Grahame originally wrote parts of The Wind in the Willows in letter form to his young son Alistair with the purpose of improving his behavior. His manuscript was rejected by an American publisher and was eventually published in England in 1908. It received only a lukewarm reception, however. A.A. Milne was a fan of the book for many years and wrote a play based on it, Toad of Toad Hall, in 1921. It was not produced until 1929 and it was an immediate success; Milne attended its premier with Grahame, who was quite pleased with the production. Within two years the most acclaimed edition of The Wind in the Willows appeared, illustrated by Milne's great collaborator, Ernest Shepard, and through this edition the work became even more widely known. There is no doubt that it is in part through Milne's and Shepard's efforts that The Wind in the Willows became the celebrated children's classic that it is today.

Of The Wind in the Willows, A. A. Milne wrote, "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 judgment on my taste, or on the art of Kenneth Grahame. You are merely sitting in judgment on yourself. You may be worthy: I don't know. But it is you who are on trial."

"Unquestionable is the permanence, as an inspired and characteristically English contribution to children's literature, of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows… one of the most endearing books ever written for children… Part of the secret success of the book is that its appeal is ageless and parents never tire of reading it aloud. Like all great books it is inexhaustible" (Eyre, 62). Pierpont Morgan 269.

Minor staining, a small abrasion to rear board. A near-fine and beautiful copy of this children's classic, with a truly exceptional association.

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