Talk:Watership Down

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Good article Watership Down has been listed as one of the Language and literature good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
April 5, 2008 Good article nominee Not listed
May 11, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
Current status: Good article

Anniversary Edition[edit]

Idea for mention in main article... WATERSHIP DOWN IS THE EASTER BUNNY'S EVIL COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:42, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

The BBC reported (see HERE) that a 40th anniversary edition would be published in 2012 - and that it would include paintings by Aldo Galli; but only in the USA edition.

Aldo's paintings were first shown to the public in Whitchurch, Hampshire by Whitchurch Arts. Richard attended the show and signed autographs (he lives in town). See HERE. AndrewRH (talk) 23:07, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Article needs cleanup[edit]

Much of what was/is in the Literary significance and Major themes sections appears to be editors' original research. Also, significant portions of the article have been in place for a long time completely unsourced, even after six months of being tagged with a request to find sources. I've tagged individual sections and have backdated them to May 2007 to match the overall article maintenance tag for two reasons: (1) to alert researchers/readers that the information has not been verified, and (2) to alert other editors that this copy should be either sourced or removed in the next couple weeks.
Jim Dunning | talk 04:57, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

template help[edit]

I see that the default for the "Watership Down" template is hidden on this page. That is nice. How is this done? When I place the template anywhere else, the default is shown. I would like to adapt this to another project I'm working on, but I can't seem to locate the wiki-markup for it. It does not seem to be here on the page, or in the template. Thanks! --Knulclunk (talk) 13:39, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Citations requested for sequel?[edit]

Any suggestions on what actual citations are requested for this? Since this is the actual contents of the sequel novel, I'm a little confused as to what is being questioned here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by TheWizardOfAhz (talkcontribs) 18:45, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

A ref to a review that briefly describes the sequel using the same points will do.
Jim Dunning | talk 22:09, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Character section downsizing[edit]

Kizor's recent removal of the "shorten section" ({{shorten}}) maintenance tag prompted me to address the original issue: the Characters section contained far too many characters, most of them relatively unimportant to the plot's key events. Therefore, I deleted most of the listed characters without internal links, thus reducing the article's Sparknotes appearance. In line with recommended novel style guidelines for identifying characters, we could consider removing the section completely and instead rely on succinct descriptions incorporated into the Plot summary.
Jim Dunning | talk 04:46, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

I've heavily edited Minor characters in Watership Down, moving it to Characters in Watership Down and merging most of the individual character articles. I've linked to it in the Characters section, and removed most of the content there. However, the embedded list is still pretty useless, so further edits or changes are definitely welcome—perhaps the above-mentioned incorporated descriptions are a good idea. Mr. Absurd (talk) 21:51, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
Good work on the move. I'll try moving the major character information into the Plot section (which could use some work anyway, although I like its current compact size). If that's unsatisfactory, maybe adding some real-world info to the Characters will work.
Jim Dunning | talk 22:40, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

  1. The "Sequel" and "Awards and nominations sections" are too short to merit their own sections. If possible, merge the information elsewhere, or expand the sections.
  2. Coverage: It seems to me that this article needs a section that analyzes the work (meaning, themes, symbols, etc.) as well as a section that critical and/or public reception to the work. In the latter section, you could merge the short "awards" section into it.
  3. The "editions" and "translations" section seems unnecessary to the article; I've never seen these sections before, and I looked specifically in Uncle Tom's Cabin, which is featured.
  4. Character sections need to be expanded and should reflect the importance of the characters. Main characters should get fairly thorough descriptions, including a summary, importance, relationship to other important characters, etc.
  5. Sources: is not a good source, and linking to it is discouraged in the MOS; other sources that seem problematic are ScreenOnline and CurtainUp
  6. Make sure all external links are absolutely necessary and justifiable--do not put up external links for the sake of putting up external links. Do not put up external links if the information within those links can be incorporated/presented within the body of the article.

There's quite a bit of work that needs to be done. I'll put this article On Hold for at least seven days (until 26 March 2008). If no significant progress has been made by that time, or if there's is no response to this review, this nom may be closed without further notice. If you have any questions, or would like input/help, feel free to leave a message here or on my talk page. Good Luck!

--Malachirality (talk) 21:11, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the review. I've started some work, but I don't know how long it will take to finish—online reviews are scarce, so I'll have to look elsewhere. One question: I have removed the and CurtainUp sources, but I left ScreenOnline. It seems to be published by the British Film Institute—why wouldn't this be reliable? Mr. Absurd (talk) 06:04, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
Alternatives to the current Characters section: (1) remove it, ensuring there are sufficient descriptions in the Plot summary (which looks fine on that point now); or (2) make sure it's expanded with real-world copy, not in-universe information; this could be accomplished by including second-party commentary, analysis, and description and citing it.
Jim Dunning | talk 14:10, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

"Editions" and "Translations" sections[edit]

I've removed the two sections for editions and translations. As commented by Malachirality above, there seems to be no precedent for including them, and at any rate the editions information can be found easily at any number of book databases. Mr. Absurd (talk) 06:12, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Put them back in. It is very hard for many of us to travel to "distant" websites, and access the book databases you think are so easy to reach. You surely have heard of packet death. Well, for a lot of us, the data cannot be obtained as easily as it can for you. Internet is not free. Data searches are not free. What you think is visible on your computer running your favorite software program is not universally visible on other people's computers running their favorite software programs. What takes you perhaps split seconds to reach, takes some of us - perhaps many of us - weeks to reach, with varying degrees of success. And no two databases are absolutely, perfectly, and completely, assuredly the same. Wikipedia would be improved if the information were brought back in, rather than made the subject of censorship. (talk) 08:37, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Some resources for article expansion[edit]

It should be easy to expand the "Publication history", "Themes", and "Reception" sections, especially the Odyssey elements. Here's some links that may help —

Watership Down - with knives
Selma G. Lanes: Male Chauvinist Rabbits. In: The New York Times , 30. June 1974.
Life and Society on Watership Down
Jim Dunning | talk 16:03, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Number of rejections[edit]

The BBC article states that Watership Down was rejected thirteen times, but Adams stated in his 1985 interview that it was rejected only seven times. We need to either remove the specific number from the article because of the ambiguity or establish which number is correct. Mr. Absurd (talk) 22:13, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Sounds good. I would put more weight on Adams's statements, but I did read somewhere in an unsourced document that it was rejected by seven major publishing houses and a number of minor ones; maybe that's the source of the discrepancy.
Jim Dunning | talk 03:49, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Critical reception[edit]

If we are going to keep Selma G. Lanes critique of the novel, I would encourage putting it in the criticism section. "Male chauvinism" is can not really be considered an intended "Theme". --Knulclunk (talk) 03:17, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

I still have to flesh this section out, but although Lanes has a point of view and is criticizing (in the pejorative sense) the novel for what she perceives an anti-feminist theme, it is a theme. To restrict a treatment of the all-male characters-of-action to the Reception section would be doing that element a disservice. I still recall noting the limited role of the does 30 years ago when I first read the book, which isn't surprising given the attention that role receives. I have no idea whether Adams consciously wrote the story that way (which is curious given that his Lockley source describes a matriarchal society), but I recall reading somewhere that he modeled the camaraderie aspect on his WWII combat experiences (all male). Again, the fact that Lanes wrote a review ("criticism" in the neutral sense) does deserve mention in the Reception section; "criticism" in both the literary and pejorative senses should be mentioned in the Themes section. Also, I just did a quick Google on WD, themes, and feminism and see that eNotes even has an essay on WD anti-feminism on its website.
Jim Dunning | talk 03:43, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, if the author consciously wrote the novel based on WWII combat experiences, that would be a male-camaraderie theme, not an anti-feminist theme. --Knulclunk (talk) 04:04, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

A reviewer can discuss, praise, or condemn a fiction work based on its themes (among other aspects, of course), and a literary critic can research and analyze those same themes. For example, a reviewer may give a thumbs down (or up) on a Sam Peckinpah film for its extensive depiction of violence (e.g. "Peckinpah's world is a man's world, and feminists have castigated his films as misogynistic and sexist, especially concerning the murder of a woman during the final moments of The Wild Bunch, the rape sequence in Straw Dogs and Doc McCoy's physical assault of his wife in The Getaway."). A film critic could also delve into the thread of violence themes Peckinpah is known for employing in his works (e.g. "Themes: Peckinpah's approach to violence is often misinterpreted. Many critics see his worldview as a misanthropic, Hobbesian view of nature as essentially evil and savage. In fact, Peckinpah himself stated the opposite. He saw violence as the product of human society, and not of nature.").
In this case, Lanes – a literary critic – acts as both a reviewer and a critic in her NYT Book Review: she expresses disapproval of the book for its apparent anti-feminist theme (a very contemporary issue in 1974) and provides a meaty analysis of the theme itself. Also, I just did a quick Google on WD, themes, and feminism and see that eNotes even has an essay on WD's anti-feminism on its website (and they charge for it).
As for the male-camaraderie theme, Lanes's essay focused on anti-female, so that's the name of the theme. If we can find a source that discusses male camaraderie, then that will be called something different. Depends on the sources.
Jim Dunning | talk 04:22, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
PS A theme doesn't have to be "intended". Perceived works just as well (or, as some literary critics argue, it is the only valid perspective -- a school of thought puts no weight on what the artist intends).
Jim Dunning | talk 04:25, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

I would then propose that the Lanes review stay in criticism as it is written from the fairly narrow worldview of a 1974 book review, and, as you put it, "its apparent anti-feminist theme" was "a very contemporary issue in 1974". To discuss the long term themes of a book considered now to be a classic, perhaps a throwaway book review written at the time of publishing should not be given undue weight? --Knulclunk (talk) 04:42, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

More on the misogyny theme[edit]

Although we use the term "critics" only one critic is used. A lazy google search bring up no other critics with a similar opinion, so I will remove it for now.

Lanes's book really is a collection of essays written for the New York Times, the quotes pulled are still from the original 1974 book review. Again, I don't deny that Lanes has a bone to pick with the book, but to elevate her interpretation of misogyny to the level of THEME seems to smack of undue weight to fringe theories.

Personally, I still find Lanes's review ludicrous. I mean, the main characters, particularly Bigwig and Fiver, repeatedly and openly dismiss does as little more than breeding stock. The rabbits seldom show any empathy to one another throughout the entire story. Only in Cowslip's warren do rabbits develop more complex relationships and here are considered very "unrabbit-like". In fact, when faced with the apparent death of Fiver, his brother, Hazel seems to have little emotion about it at all; "it is a shame". I realize I may have veered off into Original Research here, but Lanes's desire to attribute actual gender-specific motivations to characters that repeatedly have less-than-human response to social situations just seems misguided. Perhaps Adams was intentionally implying that rabbit culture, like any gatherer culture on the cusp of survival, may not have the luxury of gender sensitivity? (I suppose I would need to find a source for that.) --Knulclunk (talk) 04:46, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

WP:UNDUE and NPOV say that "the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a reliable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each." At this point we have a reliable secondary and tertiary source that supports the presence of the theme of misogyny in WD. WP:UNDUE continues, "Articles that compare views should not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views." Well, "views" are not being compared here. There is the Misogyny viewpoint, but no opposing view of, say, Misanthropy – or Feminism, or Gender Equality for that matter – to have a situation where undue prominence is being given to one at the expense of the other(s).
In this situation there is no "minority" perspective. In fact, since the theory Lanes espouses is the only one included in the article "published by a reliable source" on the area of discussion, it appears to be the majority opinion (or at least the only one) as far as WP Policies go. I understand you disagree with Lanes's argument (okay, you called it "ludicrous"), but her credentials certainly qualify her as a reliable, credible source, so it can be presented here. At this point, the only contrasting viewpoint is yours (your arguments are interesting). But, as you said above, find a source to support it, and then insert the material into the article. That would be great, since the article would be even more interesting and the more valuable to reader for it. NPOV and UNDUE only apply when there are contrasting views involved. Let's find "published" contrasting views and then let's get into it about NPOV (lol).
Thanks for bringing this up. Another thing I wanted to mention is that a limited-availability-source perspective is not automatically a "fringe theory." As I said, Lanes's credentials are reason enough to include her theories here, and argue against her being a fringe-theorist. However, you prompted me to look further since I have been concerned about "single source" issues (yes, I recognize I'm using Lanes as both a secondary and tertiary source – not that there's anything wrong with that). A lazy Google also shows that while online "reliable source" references to a misogynic theme in WD are not prolific, there are some, and common readers aplenty have not only taken notice of such a theme but have taken the effort to post it online. Admittedly not all necessarily WP:RSs for citing, but an interesting occurrence for a fringe theory:
That's in just two minutes of looking and vetting hundreds of hits (I'm sure I missed a few). More later. Thanks for making me look for more sources: there were a couple possible reliable sources there. I'm also keeping an eager eye out for contrasting viewpoints!
Jim Dunning | talk 11:52, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
I've changed the name of the section to "Alleged Misogyny" as I doubt misogyny was an intended theme of the author. I for one think a separate "criticism" section should be created if the hysterical rantings of one militant feminist absolutely MUST be included in this article. Although I personally feel this article gives that point of view far too much weight through its inclusion.--Ironzealot (talk) 18:45, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
Please keep in mind that for themes to exist in a work of art, they do not have to be intended by the artist. "Unintended" themes are also addressed in the world of literary criticism. Also, Lane is not the only critic or reviewer to notice the theme (intended or not). In addition to the several listed above, you may be interested to know that in the Puffin Modern Classics edition of the book, the "Afterword" by Nicholas Tucker originally included a fairly critical section in which Tucker considered the treatment of the does to be (at least some of the time) as "passive baby-factories".
Jim Dunning | talk 13:58, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Added another critical misogyny source who cites the story as drawing upon an anti-feminist tradition. Consequently removed the word "alleged" from the section header. More on the way.
Jim Dunning | talk 04:44, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Male Chauvinist Rabbits. God that is stupid. (talk) 04:30, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

Questioning misogyny theme[edit]

This "misogyny theme" is purely imagined by the critic. I have found no intended misogynistic message by the author. This feminist rhetoric has no place in this article. For one thing, it is not even balanced. It smacks of political correctness. It is not relevant to the literary theme of the book but is a political one. And thus, it should be removed. How it was added in the first place, I have no idea. But seemingly, according to the rules of Wikipedia editing, it has taken a rather indelible form. I maintain that this section should be stricken from the article.Rapparee71 (talk) 08:26, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Please consider that a work's theme(s) need not be intended by the author to be valid.
Jim Dunning | talk 13:25, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
I can see the subject has been debated. I think the best thing is to get a wider audience and will leave a note at WP:Literature (I thought the absence of females was pretty notable myself when I read it...) Casliber (talk · contribs) 08:59, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Rapparee, in Wikipedia we can not say "I don't buy it, so it will have to go." We must work from wp:Reliable sources, and not use wp:Original research. Further, your question of "How was it added in the first place" shows contempt for the discussion which clearly answers this question just above your post. This is a collaborative project and you will have to accept that.
As for your statement that the theme is "purely imagined", that is not really an issue. Many critics find themes in art and literature which the original artist did not notice or intend. If these are notable critiques, Wikipedia should discuss them. NJGW (talk) 16:58, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
I appreciate that this is a collaborative effort and that there has to be a consensus. However, the critic that is quoted did so from a biased viewpoint to further her political agenda that was so prevalent at the time, feminism. Commercial encyclopaedias strive to avoid biased commentary and political agendas (some better than others) and I feel that Wikipedia should as well. We should not take a political message that is 30 years removed and place it in a contemporary article. It does nothing to describe the book or it's better documented themes. My stance isn't exactly "I don't buy it, so it will have to go" as Casliber charges, but more of an editorial decision based on the fact that the misogynistic themes observed by the quoted critic are biased, political in nature, and highly suspect at best. And thus would have never been entered into an encyclopaedic article on this novel in any other publication in the first place.
The absence of females simply is not true, as Casliber commented. Hyzenthlay is even a heroine of sorts. Even if there was an absence of females or if the females in the novel were marginalised, it does not necessarily imply misogynistic motives. As per the author, the book is about camaraderie.Rapparee71 (talk) 08:36, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
What we think about the motives behind asserting a gender theme is irrelevant. There are at least three reliable sources who have made significant statements about the treatment of females in the novel and it is appropriate they be included. Similarly, if there are contrasting viewpoints from similarly reliable sources out there, the article will be all the better if they are included. My research has been unable to turn them up, but perhaps others can locate them. Rapparee, please don't take this the wrong way, but your statements about one of the sources ("themes observed by the quoted critic are biased, political in nature, and highly suspect at best") could be perceived as evidence of a political agenda as well. Please add relevant — but sourced — material to the article as soon as you find it. That would be great.
Jim Dunning | talk 11:47, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
I have no political agenda. I only wish to remove controversial, biased material from this article. The only sources I have found for the opposing view have been reviews of Thomas' and Lanes' reviews and have been online. I found one last night after going on Google for 10 minutes. As Knulclunk suggested, the criticisms of Thomas and Lanes should be relegated to a section labelled as such, "criticism", not listed as a theme. Even though it has been argued before, I maintain that this section violates some of the mandates of Wikipedia. There is no contradicting viewpoint inserted here. And this minority viewpoint has too much coverage. As Knulclunk has already said, "to elevate her interpretation to the level of THEME seems to smack of undue weight to fringe theories." An encylopaedic article should have a neutral point of view. The other theme listed in this section is a comparison of this work of literature to another. Lanes' comparisons (if you can call them that) are nothing more than stabs at what she sees as an assault on her feminist world view, a minority view. Lanes' and Thomas' comments were only relevant to the time in which they were made (and only barely). Why we are giving credence to this fringe viewpoint that is expressed with such vitriol, I do not know. Unless, Jim Dunning, I can't help but wonder if you also have a political agenda to further the feminist rhetoric espoused by Lanes in particular. I mean no disrespect, I only wonder if your motives are neutral. Reading back, it seems you alone are defending this "misogyny" criticism with undue vigour. Are you the original author of this article? Let me reiterate, this is not a personal attack. I'm merely trying to understand the mechanics of editing articles on Wikipedia and understand why there is such opposition in changing this section.
I propose this, we either delete the entry on "misogyny" until the section can be balanced with an opposing viewpoint that doesn't incorporate original research (original research shouldn't be summarily dismissed), or we move the "misogyny" section to a new section titled "criticisms". This would actually fall more in line with content produced by commercial encyclopaedias like Encylopaedia Britannica. Rapparee71 (talk) 02:42, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm with Arlo Guthrie on this one: if it were just one or two critics who noticed the same thing, then it might just be a coincidence (or they are indeed crazy), but three or more, I'm thinking they just might be onto something. I miscounted earlier, however; there are actually four credible sources listed in the article who have seen a gender issue, and one of them wrote about it in the introduction to one of the editions. Rapparee, I think the problem some may have with your position is how you introduced your argument: "This 'misogyny theme' is purely imagined by the critic. I have found no intended misogynistic message by the author. This feminist rhetoric has no place in this article." You say "I" thrice (explicitly and implicitly) and describe the critic's perspective in what could be taken as a pejorative description ("feminist rhetoric"). Leaving aside the fact that a literary theme does not have to be "intended" to exist, you attack the critics' opinions (excuse me, you first characterize the viewpoint as being held by a lone critic and then acknowledge there might be two) not by providing opposing opinions from credible sources, but your personal opinion. The content is not "controversial" or "biased" unless a credible source says it is.

Also, I hesitate to call it a "fringe theory" when a number of critics/reviewers have taken the time to comment about this aspect of the novel. I, too, am interested in providing a "balanced" perspective (or set of them), and WEIGHT requires it. Actually, WEIGHT and NPOV support the article's structure and content, not contradict it. They say, "Neutrality requires that the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a reliable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each." Consequently, I have spent far more time looking for reliable sources (both on and offline) who offer different points of view on the topic and haven't found them (so much for me having an agenda). I very much want to include those viewpoints because it makes for a much more interesting article and provide researchers with more material for their projects. Please note that WEIGHT doesn't require we provide an even number of positions and make up other opinions of credible sources; nor does it require us remove a position simply because no opposing positions exist (or can't be found). It seems to me that the "fringe theory" is actually the one which says that there is no misogyny element since no reliable source has been found to argue that position. How can the misogyny observations be called the "minority view" when no one can find "majority" views?

The good news is that you say you've found the material we need to further enhance the section. I'm glad you were able to accomplish in 10 minutes what I was unable to do in at least 10-15 hours of effort and travel to four college libraries (the Library of Congress is next). Please go ahead and add it to the article. If you need assistance in doing so, I'm glad to help work it into the section. The article will be all the better for it.
Jim Dunning | talk 06:38, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

Jim, you are taking my comments 100% literal. I didn't know that there were working androids out there!  :-) First of all, I'd like to remind you that the "rules" of Wikipedia that you are adhering to so stringently, aren't meant to be viewed that way. Please reread the five pillars of Wikipedia. They are more guidelines than rules or laws. I actually appreciate the effort to be perfect. Let me attempt, again, to clarify what I meant. The number of critics is irrelevant. I meant that the feminist viewpoint is a minority one, even in 21st century American culture. The number of critics seeing an misogynistic message in Watership Down is a minority viewpoint when compared to the overall number of literary critics that have reviewed the novel. And the number of critics seeing misogynistic messages in the novel is tiny compared to the total number of readers. THAT is what I meant by it being a minority viewpoint. And I suppose that "feminist rhetoric" could be construed as a pejorative statement and perhaps it was meant as one.
Using the word "I" in describing one's ideas, opinions, observations, and viewpoints is natural in the English language. You seem to be reading too much into that. The content of Lanes' critisism in particular are controversial by her own admission. Her opinions are a minority in our culture and when compared to that of other critics. Even though WEIGHT and NPOV are only guidelines, not hard and fast rules, they have NOT been followed here.
Perhaps we are totally missing the point that OPINION has no place here, no matter if it is a majority of minority one. If we are to insist on keeping these CRITICISMs, then they need to be more clearly labelled as such. So, that, appears to be the best compromise for now. I am putting the "misogyny" section under "reception", which seems logically to be a better fit anyway. Rapparee71 (talk) 01:47, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
I find it very ironic that you say "OPINION has no place here". All you are offering is opinion. Jim is discussing published material, by people who are notable enough to be published. Would you care to add some published material that we can discuss, or is this only a discussion based on your opinion? Also, please don't call Jim an android. That could be viewed as a personal attack. NJGW (talk) 01:59, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
I made the allusion that Jim's reading my comments 100% literally was machine like. I even inserted an emoticon to ensure that it was meant in jest. Opinions drive decisions. An opinion can also be a formal statement of advice. We are tossing about semantics here. This is what I was actually pointing out to Jim Dunning. We've gotten bogged down by semantics. It seems that we can't see the forest for the trees. It seems that I can not even alter the layout, let alone the content, of the article without Jim Dunning (or some other "senior" editor) changing it right back. This is contrary to the spirit of Wikipedia. Rapparee71 (talk) 07:12, 22 February 2009 (UTC)


The pattern here at Wikipedia is quite disturbing. A feminist critique must be included because one exists? No wonder there are so many feminist sections on articles that have nothing to do with feminism: the standard is that this one philosophical school of thought must be included if any opinion was offered. No other philosophical school of thought is even considered, which is freakishly strange considering this is Watership Down after all. Nothing regarding communists, communitarians or anarchists regarding Waterhsip Down, seriously? But a feminists critique? Why is Wikipedia turning into a platform for a philosophical school of thought? Of the past 5 articles on books I just read over, 4 had sections regarding feminism. That is downright bizarre. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:05, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

But still until the allegation of intentional misogyny is proven, it remains an allegation - and you can't prove an intention. Restoring "Alleged". Plus, define misogyny please? Lack of focus on women is not hatred of women. If it is, then lack of focus on men is hatred of men. Great! Now let's revisit all the feminist-cherished classics and insert "Misandry" sections in their Wikipedia articles. Oh yes, there will be reliable sources. So much to do, so little time! Rulatir (talk) 12:17, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

[sigh] [not directed at you, personally, Rulatir, but someone needs to come up with a new argument ....] Once again, there are multiple reliable sources which describe "anti-feminist" themes, therefore the viewpoint and material can be included in the article (and should be). If you read the source material, you'll see that the critics are not just noticing a "lack of focus" on females, but discuss the subservient role they play to the males. If a number of editors feel something like "Anti-feminism" (since that term is used in the criticism, too) is a better section title than "Misogyny", then go for it (although "anti-feminism" would seem to imply a much stronger position against a specific movement than just a relative comparison of the treatment of the genders). However, the question of whether Adams intends that element to be in the work is irrelevant to this discussion: reliable sources noted it (at length), ipso facto.
Jim Dunning | talk 22:13, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Jim, Rulatir's argument is valid and is similar to the one that I tried very hard to get across to you and others without any evident success. These feminist critics are seeing things that simply aren't there. What the author intended IS important. It seems that we are giving too much credence to a few critics here, more than that of the author himself! The whole "misogyny" section is way too long for the relative unimportance of the subject. It needs to be changed to "alleged" to reflect the character of the allegation, at the very least. If it was clearly stated by Adams that there was no intended theme of any sort, then that obviously rules out that the validity of the misogyny theme, and by default carry more weight. Let me get this straight you (and others like NGJW), Jim, are defending the misogyny section simply because there were a couple of critics back in the early 70's that imagined this "theme" and published works based on it? So, by that rationale, if a couple of people had seen a hidden message in Watership Down that said "we should all move underground and only eat vegetarian food" and had written and published criticisms to that effect, THAT would be a valid "theme"?! By the way, "misogyny" IS a stronger word than "anti-feminism". The Oxford American Dictionary defines misogyny as "the hatred of women by men". Perhaps this whole time, you did not fully understand the gravity of the word? "Anti-feminism" is simply a belief in the superiority of men over women. In short, there is no good word to describe this theme simply because it DOES NOT EXIST! It was imagined by these women in the early 1970's and their academic exercise snowballed. It's not unlike a made up story of a treasure or conspiracy that other people will hang onto for dear life, simply because they WANT to believe it. The original misogyny articles were nothing more than seeing shapes in clouds. In short, the misogyny section needs to be either removed or at the very least reduced to reflect it's imagined status. (In fact, all the themes should be marginalised in this way, simply because they don't exist). Some times a story is just a story and this is one of them. Rapparee71 (talk) 01:04, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
  • "Rulatir's argument is valid" according to whom? According to some literary giants, it is invalid: "[A]uthorial intent is irrelevant to understanding a work of literature. Preoccupation with intent was called by Wimsatt the intentional fallacy. The author, they argue, cannot be reconstructed from a writing. The text is the only source of meaning, and any details of the author's desires or life are purely extraneous." For example...
  • "These feminist critics..." Your characterization of these reviewers as feminists is not necessarily their intended authorial intent.
  • "if a couple of people had seen a hidden message in Watership Down that said "we should all move underground and only eat vegetarian food" and had written and published criticisms to that effect, THAT would be a valid "theme"?!" If this view had somehow been published by several wp:RS sources (enough that it was obviously a notable theme to discuss), then it would be very encyclopedic of us to discuss such a theme. Thankfully, this fantasy has no chance of being a reality this is a not a comparable analogy to the real situation.
  • "It was imagined by these women in the early 1970's and their academic exercise snowballed." Do you have a source for this or is it something you imagined in early February came up with yourself?
I and others that have criticised this "misogyny" section are members of the Wikipedia community, our arguments and suggestions have equal weight. Please limit your commentary to discussing the actual suggestions people are making instead of tearing apart ancillary wording.
1. The author's intent, his statements, and quotations by the author should be given more weight and more space than those of a few critics, period, full stop, no argument.
2. My calling Lanes and her ilk "feminist critics" is an accurate and obvious observation of their work. In fact, they are described as such either on Wikipedia or in other online descriptions of their work. If my memory serves me correctly, and I'm positive it does. And if, just for the sake of argument we throw out authorial intent out the window as you suggest, then the argument is moot. I'm calling it like I see it, just as they did with Adams' novel.
3. My illustration was just that, an illustration, not a red herring as you implied. I was trying to, via an analogy, to illustrate a concept that you seem to have not grasped yet.
4. Make one more remark like the one about my imagining something in early February and I will report you for harassment. I should have done so already for misusing the reporting process to bully me into submitting to your viewpoints. Ad hominem attacks WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!
5. Yes, some times a cigar is just a cigar, and this is one of those times. Thomas and Lanes saw more than just a "cigar". By Adams' own words, "it was just a story..." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rapparee71 (talkcontribs) 06:16, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Do you have a source for "It was imagined by these women in the early 1970's and their academic exercise snowballed," or is this an idea you came up with? NJGW (talk) 19:10, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

The "misogyny" (sub)section would be better off entitled "Gender." Misogyny is not thematized in the book; gender is. In fact, I may just be bold... --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 07:29, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

I changed the section title to the more specific "gender roles", as this is what is being discussed (gender as a theme makes it sound like a story about transvestite rabbits). Thanks for the help finding a section title which is both very descriptive and neutral. I have to agree with older statements that the section is long. I think however that this is a function of the need to increase the length (and, as you Jbmurray point out, the number) of the other sections as opposed to a need to ax this section. NJGW (talk) 21:38, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
That makes sense to me. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 00:02, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Re: Themes[edit]

I have no proof, but I'm sure there's a source somewhere that envisions the novel as a reworking of the Aeneid: the hero flees his destroyed home with a band of survivors, and settles somewhere else after defeating the locals. The securing of female rabbits also smacks of Livy's "Rape of the Sabine Women" story from early (putative) Roman history. FWIW. Ifnkovhg (talk) 05:21, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

If you can find the source that would be great. I've got more material on the similar Odyssey (topic already started in Themes) and will be adding that. Livy's "Rape" is already mentioned relative to the treatment of females in the novel (also in Themes). More would be welcome.
Jim Dunning | talk 10:52, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Further GA review[edit]

The previous reviewer (User:Malachirality) appears to be MIA, and since there's a backlog of Literature noms at WP:GAC, I'll finish this up for them. There are currently two "citation needed" tags in the article, one in "Pub. history" and the other in "Critical" reception; referenced need to be provided or the material removed in order to satisfy WP:V. The novel's themes are somewhat limited and I'm concerned that there are only two major ones defined with very limited sourcing (again, the problem here is verifiability). The previous reviewer had an issue with the "Characters" section being too stingy, and I have to say that I agree; this is your chance to add more plot details or information about character development/background that are not outlined elsewhere. For example, I remember reading in my copy's preface that my favorite character, Blackberry, shows up late in the book because Adams had forgotten until his daughters reminded him -- just an example, of course. Some things are already listed at List of characters in Watership Down, such as Kehaar being based upon a fighter from the Norwegian Resistance during WWII. Little details like this may help bring this article to life.

As of now this is still limited in scope. Would it be easier to just close the nomination for now and leave time for further expansion? María (habla conmigo) 14:49, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Just on a plot point: what do you mean by Blackberry showing up "late in the book"? He's first mentioned (as "a buck with black-tipped ears") on the second page of the novel, and first appears by name at the start of chapter three (out of 50). Loganberry (Talk) 01:12, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
Doh, not Blackberry, my mistake. Bluebell. From the Introduction to the Perennial Classics Edition: "I used to read installments to the girls as I wrote them, and often they made suggestions themselves, or reminded me that I had left out some features of the original story told in the car. They remembered, for instance, the comic rabbit Bluebell, and this is why, in the book, he arrives late in the scene." Again, I'm not suggesting this be added; this is minor at best, but similar "behind the scenes" additions would really be an asset. María (habla conmigo) 02:20, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

There haven't been any edits to the article in four days, and it seems that the main contributors are MIA. I'm going to close this nomination for the time being with the hope that the reason for the quietness is that my comments and the comments from the previous reviewer need further time to work on. Best of luck on improving this article on such a great novel, guys! If you have any questions, please do contact me. María (habla conmigo) 12:45, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Homeric Themes[edit]

I wanted to put a general correction. You can say that the themes are "Homeric", but as much as they are found in the Aeneid. Most of the scholars would point out an Aeneid connection (and from what I have seen in the sources given, this is true), which deals with the re-founding of a country after its destruction. The one scene that is compared to the Lotus Eaters in parenthesis, for example, would really be about Dido and Carthage. Ottava Rima (talk) 13:48, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Virgil's Aeneid is already mentioned in the "Themes" section and "Homeric" is only used in the lead, unless I'm mistaken. That could be made clearer per WP:LEAD, perhaps. The last point you bring up is certainly interesting, but a reliable source that makes the connection would help so as to avoid WP:OR. María (habla conmigo) 15:20, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
Schmoll, Edward A. “Homeric Reminiscence in Watership Down.” Classical and Modern Literature 10.1 (1989): 21-26.
That article argues that all of the scenes of the book are reflected by the individual section headings. I'm a little surprised by how Rothen missattributed too many of the scenes to the wrong Odyssey scene. I guess she never read the Aeneid. Regardless, she isn't used for this section in particular. The Cowslip warren comes at section 13, which is prefaced with Tennyson's "The Lotus-Eaters". Now, this is different than saying it is the Lotus Eaters scene of the Odyssey. I would find the text that I cited and see if you can incorporate any of the comments. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:38, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

GA review[edit]

OK, let's get stuck into it....I'll put notes below. A preliminary look-through looks promising. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 07:26, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

The animals in the novel live in their natural environment, but are anthropomorphized, - could flip the conjunctions to ' Although the animals in the novel live in their natural environment, they are anthropomorphized,' as this emphasises the second clause which then segues into the third.
his novel was rejected 13 times in all, until Rex Collings, a small publishing house, finally accepted it - actually flows better if we break the style rules and use passive - 'his novel was rejected 13 times in all, until finally accepted by Rex Collings, a small publishing house'
Additionally, some scholars have perceived a strong misogynic element. - be good to cite this for GA as could be challenged.
The subsections of the Adaptations section are a wee bit stubby. I'd just add a line or two on each to highlight their similarities (or differences) to the book, for continuity.

Otherwise, a great read and very well done. Just these tiny tweaks and yer over the line...Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 08:05, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your review! I've already fixed the first and second points. For the fourth, I've added to Film and Televison, but I didn't have anything for Theatre… do we still need more? As for the third point, I would have thought a ref wasn't needed because it was covered in more detail in the subsection "Misogyny". Either way, I didn't work on that section at all so I have no idea, but I'll poke around a bit and see what I can find. Mr. Absurd (talk) 17:52, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think a cite is needed since that paragraph was created as a "Lead" for the Themes section, and the cite is below it (similar to how the article Lead is handled). Similarly, there is no cite for the reference to the heoric elements in the sentence below it. Great job on expanding the film adaptation section, BTW. Excellent addition.
Jim Dunning | talk 18:38, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Nevermind - the two bits referred are referenced further down, leaving only one cite tag which is from the book anyway, so all good. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 18:48, 11 May 2008 (UTC)


This is certainly not a big deal, but I noticed that my copy of Watership Down (published sometime after the movie, not sure which year) formats the dedication differently from the article. It looks like this:

Juliet and Rosamund
the road to Stratford-on-Avon

as opposed to this:

To Juliet and Rosamund,
the road to Stratford-on-Avon

Is it my copy that's different from the original, or the version in the article wrong? Mr. Absurd (talk) 18:26, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

The copy I have access to (a very early edition) is formatted similarly to the the box I placed in the article. I don't think it matters. An alternative might be to photo the actual page an place it in the article.
Jim Dunning | talk 18:41, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
Okay, that's fine. I was pretty sure my version was wrong, but I just wanted to make sure. Mr. Absurd (talk) 02:37, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it's a matter of one version being right or wrong — it's the thought that counts! lol
Jim Dunning | talk 03:28, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

On towards FAC[edit]

I was musing on this and upon reflection was impressed with the prose (usually the most challenging and heartbreaking aspect of FAC). I am however not too exeprt on literature, so thought if Jbmurray, Awadewit and/or Wrad would be best literary critics I can think of off the top of my head before going on there. Someone may remember some other literary critique we haven't thought of. Also, was watership down the first of the anthropomorphised animal books? eg legacy which spawned Duncton Wood, the Rats of NIMH etc. and has someone written something noting this? Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 09:40, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

On anthropomorphized animal books: Beatrix Potter and Wind in the Willows. Meanwhile, Awadewit's the person for children's literature (though I realize that it may be somewhat controversial to call WD children's literature!). I really don't know the critical literature, if it exists. A quick look at Google books gives me [1][2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] and [8] as possibly useful sources. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 09:52, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm very much interested in helping to develop the article further, but I urge caution and patience. I thought this article was prematurely nominated for GA, and it took a bit of scrambling to bring it up to snuff (barely) from where it started just over a month ago. The resources listed above are helpful, but to move toward FAC, professional research tools and access to non-online resources (such as those at university libraries) will be needed. I just don't want to rush this: the focus shouldn't be on FAC per se, but creating a top-notch article.
Jim Dunning | talk 10:28, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, offline sources are the things which really help make good FAs, I think they have been instrumental in all of mine without exception, so definitely no rush. I was just giving a heads up to see where this led. Some of mine were delayed months due to not finding what I needed, and biology was a heckuva lot easier than these sorta ones...Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 12:44, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

theme: utopia[edit]

Utopia should probably be a theme. The sources are out there. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 08:32, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Maybe a distopia theme? Do you mean the brass wire warren? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:18, 11 March 2010 (UTC)


Some one decided to remove the sentence that reads "Additionally, some scholars have criticized its representation of gender." [9] That was very bold considering we have a section titled Gender roles which discusses this issue. I've reverted it as vandalism. Anyone care to comment. NJGW (talk) 07:02, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

While I didn't remove the sentences you are referring to in the first place, I saw no evidence of "vandalism". It appeared to a be a good faith edit, especially, as you say yourself, it is already mentioned elsewhere in the article. I therefore reverted your revert. It did not harm the article. It removed a piece of repetition. Don't assume that all IP edits are vandalism. Rapparee71 (talk) 07:42, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Do you believe that the whole paragraph that summarizes the themes section should be removed? NJGW (talk) 07:48, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
I see no harm in leaving it, but it is redundant.Rapparee71 (talk) 07:51, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
I guess that's the nature of introductions. Too bad they're a necessary evil for good writing. NJGW (talk) 07:57, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Actually, it isn't necessary. Not all works require one. And, after looking at a draft without it, it actually looks cleaner. Rapparee71 (talk) 08:00, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
I couldn't help but notice that the statement by Adams, stating that it was never meant to be an allegory, is missing. Why was it removed? It was relevant. Rapparee71 (talk) 08:02, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure how you managed to notice that... it's still there in the section related to what he was asked about and was talking about at the time. NJGW (talk) 14:47, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Trying to avoid in-universe persepctive[edit]

In an attempt to avoid in-universe perspective, I've been removing too much character detail about Fiver. Interestingly, while I've been providing edit summaries explaining my edits, another editor has been terming it "vandalism" on my Talk page while leaving out any explanations on why she is adding the material and reverting my edits. Please provide an explanation. (talk) 10:35, 29 April 2009 (UTC)


I'm biased here as she's one of my favourite characters, but I do think Hyzenthlay has got a bit of a rough deal in this article. She's only even mentioned once, which is a shame as I think she's long been underestimated. She's by far the most important doe in the book, since without her Bigwig would probably have failed in his mission in Efrafa, so probably deserves a mention in the "Gender roles" section too. The tricky bit is finding a good source: Hyzenthlay's importance seems to have been overlooked by many essayists and reviewers too. Loganberry (Talk) 16:38, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

This is an excellent point. Are there any articles that mention her actions in the novel as a refutation of the view of misogyny? --Hdstubbs (talk) 05:00, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

Gender over politics?[edit]

I find it shocking that this article deals with a few complaints against Adams about misogyny in rabbit culture in detail, but doesn't mention at all the many proposed allegories about political structures which are often analyzed, whether Adams intended them or not; the warren of the shining wires as communism, Woundwart's warren of fascism, or the idealized socialism of Hazel's new warren. Not even a whisper about WWII allegory, with Kehaar the air force and Woundwart the Hitler.

I'm not saying that these are clear cut or even crucial, but that there is considerably more debate and discussion about such allegories in a wide sense than there is any discussion about the does' place in the warren.

Expansion on the themes is very welcome; all we need are credible and significant sources and appropriate citations. Your help on this is invited. (talk) 14:38, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Absolutely agree. This article begs for expansion from those familiar with the proper sources. If you are aware of these, please list some. NJGW (talk) 20:38, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
The section on Gender issues doesn't belong here in an encyclopedia entry. It's like including a Mennonite critique of the book for its non-passivism. It is the imposition of a shibboleth of one narrow minded group upon the book.Cadwallader (talk) 12:30, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Which narrow minded group would that be? NJGW (talk) 18:27, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Farthing Wood[edit]

Is there any mileage in mentioning Farthing Wood? the similarities are obvious but is it germane to this article, and can it be referenced? Totnesmartin (talk) 16:51, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Length of plot summary[edit]

This article recently underwent a massive plot summary expansion from about 400 words to roughly 4000, mostly written by (talk · contribs), (talk · contribs), and FiverFan65 (talk · contribs) (who I'm guessing are the same user). While I certainly commend this/these user(s) for their dedication and hard work, such a long plot summary is in my opinion far too long and detailed for a Wikipedia article. This view is supported by the Manual of Style, which states that "the length of a plot summary should be carefully balanced with the length of the other sections". As such, I have reverted these additions completely; while there likely were some worthy edits in the additions, the previous summary had undergone a lot of careful revision (especially during the previous Good Article process) and I believe that moving forward it will be much easier to reach an optimal length for this article working from 400 words than 4000.

I hesitated to do this because I didn't want to discourage anyone from contributing further to Wikipedia, but I believed it necessary for the article. I certainly would encourage any editors to help improve the plot summary, but also remembering to focus on maintaining an appropriate length. There is a great set of guidelines at Wikipedia:How to write a plot summary, and also a list of examples from other articles.

Please feel free to leave questions, comments, replies or otherwise.

Thanks, Mr. Absurd (talk) 14:05, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Mr. Absurd, I've written on my own Talk Page how grateful I am to you - and I confess to being the guilty party. To summarize what I wrote there:
I need to lose bad habits I learned as a behind-the-scenes librarian, and because of my love of Watership Down, I lengthened the article, when I fully intended to work on shortening it.
The first lesson of WP is that what we write and Save appears on WP immediately. I've been acting as though I'm playing in a Sandbox, but I haven't been, and I'm embarrassed by how unprofessional I now seem.
I'm determined to show that I can be a good writer/editor for WP. I've read almost all of the Guidelines and I really do understand them, so why did I kept writing at such lengths? - only because I'm used to being able to write and quickly pare down.
But here I lost all sense, apparently.
Thank you so much! Of course I'll work with you and not interfere with your judgements.
Plus, of course it's almost impossible to know who a person is, so forgive me for using the masculine - you seem like a really cool guy.
P.S.: Wait, wait! I am not (talk · contribs) or (talk · contribs), and I don't know who they are. (Obviously, WD fans like myself.) I did NOT mean to imply that I'm using sock puppets, because I think that's a foul practice. PLEASE do not associate me with him, her, or them. It's easy to search ISP addresses, so you'll know that I'm just me, lurching along and learning. And I apologize for the CAPs, but I'm really serious about this.
I am and have always been willing to confess to making mistakes. But the last thing I'm going to do is commit sockpuppetry. I have too much pride for that.
Again, Mr. Absurd, my thanks - and I love your name, because I love absurdist literature.
FiverFan65 (talk) 15:46, 9 July 2012 (UTC)FiverFan65 (talk) 15:35, 9 July 2012 (UTC)FiverFan65
Don't worry, FiverFan-- you're clearly not socking. Sometimes editors forget to log in and they show up with IP addresses, and when we see a long series of edits from a single user with a few IP edits in between, we usually assume that it's the same user. Regarding your editing style, you actually do have a sandbox that you can use for whatever you like. If you prefer to frequently revise your text, you can use your sandbox to get things where you want them before making changes to a live article. Regards, Orange Suede Sofa (talk) 16:25, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Reference formats[edit]

Among other things (nothing substantial except Rex Collings and the awards explanations) I have changed all stray date formats to the dual standard evidently adopted here: {dmy} for publication dates; Retrieved yyyy-mm-dd.

I have also made one Economist reference similar to the other but they both need attention, I believe, to present article titles in quotation marks and The Economist in italics. (My hasty revision improves on the previous editor's use of template parameters which generated "Economist: 47" for page 47.)

Attend also to Lastname, Firstname and Firstname, Lastname which are both used here for several referenced authors. --P64 (talk) 16:47, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Odyssey, Rosamund, English[edit]

Finding no good target for lowercase "odyssey" in the lead, I read what we say in the article and decided that it warrants --for lead purposes-- bluntly calling this story "the Odyssey of the rabbits". (Aeneid is more accurate but interested readers will get to that, and Odyssey isn't misleading.)

Please check the two daughter names. I edited Rosamond Rosamund but vice versa may be correct afaik.

Do we know that Adams considers himself English? I put this article in Category:English children's novels rather than the usual British because the lead sentence calls Adams English. (We all know this doesn't mean the book is for English children only!) --P64 (talk) 16:47, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Origin and publication history[edit]

Section 1 has been "Publication history" with much about the origin and no publication history beyond the first edition. I have renamed it "Origin and publication history" and rearranged both the lead and section 1 to fit that plan, essentially covering first the origin of the story and then the publication history in the latter section.

To cover the publication history even so briefly as I have done has required multiple catalogue and database references. I have also left several hidden comments in the top sections and {infobox}, which identify more catalog/database sources. Two causes are the problems [a] I did not find any US LCCatalog record that explicitly identifies the first U.S. edition (something very common to find for Carnegie Medal winning works) and [b] WorldCat records for US editions give copyright date 1972 rather than publication date (where both alternatives are common). Those WorldCat records (c)1972 do give the same ISBN as LCCatalog record 1974 [ref name=LCC2/] so I believe the identification (Macmillan USA, 1974) as much as I believe anything here.

The WorldCat list of translation languages is not reliable but I suppose that it errs almost exclusively by omission and it is a WP:RELIABLE SOURCE.

--P64 (talk) 20:22, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

Fiver's name[edit]

It might be because i read the german translation, so this might have no relevance here. In the book it's explicitely explained, that the rabbits have only words for numbers up to four and everything above four is "hrair". "Hrairoo" got his name because he was "the first of the thousand" or "little thousand". In other words, the next after four, hence the english name "Fiver". Though he was the smallest of his litter, it wasn't meant to reflect that. If that's correct, the explanation in the characters section would need correction.

The german Wiki article doesn't go into that at all, merely states his name and that he was the smallest and last of his litter, but no connection between that. --Andy 90459 (talk) 11:55, 26 August 2012 (UTC)


On this page, it is stated that the book was turned down by 13 publishers. However, on Richard Adams' page, that number is only 7. Which one is correct, and should somebody change them? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:24, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Sorry for replying so late. But if your still following, do you think you could provide the source of where you found that information? Currently, the article links to here, where it verifies 13 publishers. Thanks! Michaelzeng7 (talk) 20:47, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

Nuthanger Farm[edit]

Just recently read through the paperback. I see from reading past threads that people editing the page caution against overexpanding the Plot section, but I made a couple of changes.

First it mistated that Hazel and Pipkin released the hutch rabbits. In fact the duo reconnaitred Nuthanger Farm one night, and a different team (Hazel, Bigwig, Blackberry, Dandelion, Speedwell, and Hawkbit) led the raid and rescue. Second, I thought it misleading to refer to the Woundwort's presumed destroyer as a dog from a generic "nearby farm", when in fact Bob was kept at Nuthanger. I also added the detail that the girl Lucy at Nuthanger Farm, owner of the escaped hutch rabbits, was the one who had saved Hazel by acting as "Dea ex machina" (though that bit may be judged excessive detail). (corrected sp. Nutley -> Nuthanger)--Kiyoweap (talk) 06:18, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Gender roles[edit]

As I've seen here, there was significant debate about the section on gender roles, but it was eventually kept. The article passed a good article review when that section was in it. Then, in 2011, it was removed by an unregistered editor, who called it "feminist crapolla" (sic) and it was never restored. Why? Aquila89 (talk) 18:37, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

Possibly because the editors who where watching the page at the time of removal didn't care or weren't aware of the context. Do you have a diff? Regards, Orange Suede Sofa (talk) 20:02, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, do I have a what? I think the section had valid points and it should be put back n the article. Aquila89 (talk) 11:28, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
A "diff" is one of the standard ways in which editors refer to prior revisions of a page. If you can find the section you're talking about in the page's history, you can copy the link to that revision from this history here so we can see what you're talking about. Alternately, you can just be bold and copy the section back in, and if someone objects, they can discuss here. Regards, Orange Suede Sofa (talk) 18:02, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. I restored the section. Aquila89 (talk) 19:20, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

Aeneas and the Lotus Eaters?[edit]

The section titles "The Hero, the Aeneid, and the Odyssey" currently includes the following:

"Tolkien scholar John Rateliff calls Adams's novel an Aeneid "what-if" book: what if the seer Cassandra (Fiver) had been believed and she and a company had fled Troy (Sandleford Warren) before its destruction? What if Hazel and his companions, like Aeneas, encounter a seductive home at Cowslip's Warren (Land of the Lotus Eaters)?"

(w/ reference: Rateliff, John D. "Classics of Fantasy". Wizards of the Coast, Inc. Archived from the original on 28 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-21.)

While this may be an accurate paraphrase of the Rateliff reference given, I do not believe that Aeneas ever visited the Land of the Lotus Eaters (though, of course, Odysseus famously did). It looks like Rateliff may have gotten his reference wrong and, having made its way into this article, the error has now proliferated onto numerous web sites that base their content on Wikipedia articles.

If I'm wrong, and it turns out that Aeneas DID visit the Land of the Lotus Eaters, I would be interested in knowing what book of the Aeneid that story appears in.

Otherwise, perhaps the text should be modified to reflect that it was Odysseus, not Aeneas, that had that particular adventure. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:51, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

References to Watership Down in other works[edit]

This is a list of trivia. I have moved it to the talk page in case someone wants to make some use of it elsewhere. But it does not belong in the article per Wikipedia's guidelines for literature, for many discrete reasons, among which: the work is what is significant to the article, not how (or how many) other artists or writers have quoted or referred to it, and lists like this, if permitted, would and do go on and on forever and would eventually drown out the text of the article. ZarhanFastfire (talk) 06:41, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

Watership Down has been referenced in other media.

  • In the Stephen King novel The Stand, Larry Underwood mentions Harold Lauder reminds him of Silverweed, a character in Watership Down.
  • In the 2001 film Donnie Darko, the book and its film adaptation are viewed and discussed in a classroom setting. According to writer/director Richard Kelly, there was a longer subplot about Watership Down that was cut out, with "a whole sequence about the Deus ex Machina and the God Machine and arguing about the rabbits, and the meaning of rabbits.[1] This subplot was restored to the film in the 2004 Director's Cut.
  • In the Doug Worgul novel "Thin Blue Smoke", a mentally ill character named Warren regards Richard Adams as a prophet, and often speaks or writes in Lapine.
  • The furry fandom website Flayrah gets its name from a Lapine word and describes itself as "unusually good information".
  • In the Hillary Jordan novel “When She Woke”, the main characters reference the secret of Cowslip's warren in regards to their situation.[2]
  • In the 2008 direct-to-video film Conspiracy the book is discussed.
  • In the novel "Libby on Wednesday" by Zilpha Keatley Snyder one of the characters writes a parody called "Watertrap Down" and criticize the book as being chauvinistic.[3]
  • In the Rainbow Rowell novel Eleanor & Park, Watership Down is one of the novels Eleanor's mother saves for her in a bag of her belongings.
  • In The Vicar of Dibley 1996 Easter special episode called The Easter Bunny. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Frade (talkcontribs) 09:23, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  • In the Junot Díaz novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Lola recalls reading Watership Down at the moment her mother discovers she may have breast cancer.
  • OWSLA, a vanity record label, was named after the novel [4]
Also, on the television show Lost, the character Sawyer is shown on the beach reading the book in the first season (shown in multiple episodes, iirc). TySoltaur (talk) 06:09, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
Comment/Question If this is the case, should it also apply to the 'Music' subsection of Adaptions?Coolabahapple (talk) 14:01, 7 May 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ Murray, Rebecca. "Inside Donnie Darko with Writer/Director Richard Kelly". Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Jordan, Hillary (2011). When She Woke. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. p. 266. ISBN 978-1-56512-629-9.
  3. ^ Snyder, Zilpha Keatly "Libby on Wednesday" Delacorte Press, New York, 1990 pp. 91, 97-98. 9780385299794
  4. ^ "Billboard". Retrieved 19 February 2015. 

External links modified[edit]

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Undue weight.[edit]

Is the criticism section perhaps just a tad WP:UNDUE? The "feminist criticism" consists of modern and 2nd-wave feminists critiquing a fictional book about rabbits, and making conjecture as to the motives of the author. Are these feminist critics even particularly notable themselves? Are there views fringe or widely held? I know the book is inaccurate in that it shows male rabbits setting up a new warren when in fact, much in the same way for ants and elephants, rabbit society is rather matriarchal - yet the criticism part just seems bloated in contrast with other sections in the article. -- (talk) 12:28, 28 November 2016 (UTC)

Good point. I tightened it up a bit. ~Anachronist (talk) 16:57, 28 November 2016 (UTC)
Tightened up a bit more. ~Anachronist (talk) 06:06, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
Adams is quoted somewhere as saying that 'Watership Down' was just about rabbits. Rodolph (talk)
How is that relevant to the discussion? Dlabtot (talk) 00:16, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
Relevant? Possibly relevant because the author had no feminsim or whatever in mind and thus any interpretations placed upon the book by people like you or me are mere fancies.Rodolph (talk) 00:24, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
I find that to be an extremely simplistic view. So works of art and literature are always exactly what their creators say they are about and nothing more? Is that really what you believe? So you don't, for example, think an author could ever unintentionally reveal biases, opinions, themes, whatever, that they did not set out to write about? Everything is on the surface, at all times?
I think I would enjoy playing poker with you. Dlabtot (talk) 01:30, 1 January 2017 (UTC)