One of the best-known classics of children's literature, a timeless masterpiece and a vital portrait of an age, The Wind in the Willows began originally in Kenneth Grahame's letters to his young son, where he first recounted the adventures of Rat and Badger, of Mole and Toad--all narrated in virtuoso language ranging from lively parody to elaborate fin-de-siA]cle mysticism. Yet for a children's book, it is concerned almost exclusively with adult themes: fear of radical changes in political, social, and economic power. This new edition considers this conundrum and provides a wealth of fascinating contextual information about the book's author and its historical, cultural, and literary significance. The Introduction by Peter Hunt, one of the foremost scholars of children's literature, focuses on the book's status as a classic, and as both a self-portrait of Kenneth Grahame's psyche and a portrait of an age. Reproducing the text of the first British edition, the book includes explanatory notes that shed light on the sources of the book--biographical, psychological, geographical, and literary--and an up-to-date bibliography.