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Kenneth Grahame

(1859—1932) writer and secretary of the Bank of England

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British author of books for children, most notably The Wind in the Willows (1908).

Born in Edinburgh, Grahame was orphaned at an early age and went to live with his grandmother in England. He was educated at St Edward's School, Oxford, before going to work in his uncle's offices in London. He joined the Bank of England as a clerk (1879) and rose to the office of secretary to the Bank (1898–1908). He narrowly escaped death in an assassination attempt by a lunatic in 1903.

Grahame began writing essays and reviews in the 1880s and in the 1890s contributed to The Yellow Book. His first book, a volume of essays entitled Pagan Papers (1893), was followed by The Golden Age (1895). Both collections of essays were much admired, particularly for their insight into the world of children, and in 1898 Dream Days appeared as a sequel to The Golden Age. But Grahame's claim to immortality was established with The Wind in the Willows, with its magical world of the riverbank and its characters Rat, Mole, Badger, and Toad. The story was drafted in letter form for Grahame's only child Alastair, who later died tragically while an undergraduate at Oxford (1920). The story was successfully dramatized by A. A. Milne as Toad of Toad Hall (1929).

Subjects: Literature

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Works by Kenneth Grahame