“ “The Wind in the Willows” is not a military work…”*

Angry Staff Officer wrote* on his blog of 2016:

“The Battle Of Toad Hall Is A Masterpiece Asymmetrical Warfare

Two heavily armed factions – the Weasels and the Stoats – have undermined the local power in the region; namely, that of Toad and Toad Hall. While Toad was a fairly unsteady leader – investing at random in items that took his fancy – he remained the rightful leader of the region. The usurping powers were led by the Chief Weasel who used his connections with organized crime to help build an armed force that could overpower Toad Hall. Taking advantage of a time when Toad was absent, the Weasels and Stoats infiltrated the seat of power and established themselves as the new brokers in the region. The Weasels and Stoats were task organized into a garrison force and a sentry force. The garrison force was powerful, but was reluctant to leave the confines of their new base. It was mainly made up of Weasels. The sentry force consisted of Stoats which patrolled the outer cordon of Toad Hall and kept watch over main avenues of approach. Although originally paramilitary in nature, these two forces adopted militaristic overtones with conventional titles for their time in power…

…Although the Weasels and Stoats had direct fire superiority with their rifles, the strike force closed the distance so rapidly as to negate their effectiveness…”

Andrew Motion wrote in The Guardian of 7.12.02 about writing a poem-libretto for the narrator of Will Tuckett’s ballet of The Wind in the Willows:

“…The book (1908) as a whole is engrossed by retrospections, two of them being the spectres of disappointment and punishment.

When I began writing my pieces for Tuckett, I wanted to catch this sense of lurking elegy. Tuckett had been thinking along similar lines. Under his direction, the ballet opens in an attic, with the elderly Grahame/narrator (played by Anthony Dowell), surrounded by assorted cupboards, tallboys, and so on. Then the characters of The Wind in the Willows emerge from the furniture around him – Ratty preceded by Mole, thrillingly shaking out a river of blue silk – and as the action unfolds, Grahame remains on stage, at once controlling and controlled by his creation. The pathos of his position hardly needs to be spelled out.

So I didn’t spell it out. Although I’ve allowed Grahame a necessary wistfulness, I’ve also respected the book’s other moods, writing 20-odd poems that range from light comedy through broad farce to excitement to thoughtfulness and on to pastoral. The verse forms are appropriate to their situation: there are drinking songs, jaunty rhymes, hammering couplets, passages of reflective blank verse, and airy lyrics. They’re meant to stand apart from the action and yet be a part of it.

I decided the pantheism would be impossible for a modern audience to digest if it were served up whole, so I diffused it into a general but acute season-consciousness and country-consciousness. The fight was more difficult. There’s no denying its snobbery – and worse. But the longer I thought about it, the more strongly I felt it would be a mistake to think of it simply in terms of a class war. It was anarchy that really frightened Grahame; Toad’s own chaos is as frowned-upon as that of the stoats and weasels. The Wind in the Willows is not a hectoring book, but it does contain a number of “messages”. One of them is: everyone has to grow up, whether they like it or not. That’s why children find it interesting, as well as simply enjoyable. Adults, too.”

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