The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

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Where is the setting of The Wind in the Willows?

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Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows is set in the "old England" of Grahame's Victorian youth. This is a mythic, pastoral space also explored by E.M. Forster in the early years of the twentieth century, when it seemed urbanization, industrialization, population growth, and new money were obliterating the old, slow, traditional rural England of yesteryear.

More specifically, the setting of the novel takes strong inspiration from Grahame's childhood home in Cookham Dean, in the south of England, not too far from London. In 1906, two years before The Wind in the Willows was published, Grahame moved with his family back to Cookham Dean to try to restore his nerves after an attempt on his life. Cookham Dean was his "happy place." But, while much of the setting of the novel is based on this idyllic rural England, with its ponds, isles, waterways, and gentle woods, the Wild Woods in the novel are said to represent the anarchy of the new, unsettled England of modernity.

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