Making Room for Kipling
May 6th, 2013
I’ve spoken out before this in favor of Rudyard Kipling; one of late-19th century Britain’s literary giants who has, alas, fallen somewhat out of fashion these days. His major crime, as far as I’ve been able to discern, is being a man’s man who grew up without the benefit of political correctness.
Admittedly, most of my fondness for Kipling stems from Stalky & Co., a vaguely autobiographical account of his public school career, very much in the spirit of Tom Brown, though rather more fun. I haven’t read too much of his other work — just dabbled a bit with Plain Tales from the Hills. Oh, and of course I had Just So Stories when I was a tot. But I’ve always meant to explore further, so you can imagine I jumped at the chance to acquire 7 matching volumes of assorted Kipling this afternoon at Phoenix Books in San Luis Obispo.
I love the edition — it’s undated, but I’m guessing 1910s or 20s. The publisher is J. H. Sears & Company, New York. They’re perfect for our 1920s redwood living room, and I couldn’t wait to see them next to J. M. Barrie on our “aren’t these bindings pretty shelf.” Alas, there doesn’t seem to be any room left. Perhaps some of the less decorative volumes will be willing to make way, though I’m not sure where they’ll go either — we seem to have books stashed in every little hidey-hole you can imagine.