|Dimensions||10 × 21 × 3.5 cm|
Brown leatherette with gilt title and decoration on the spine. Gilt decoration on the front board.
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Kim is a novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author Rudyard Kipling. It was first published serially in McClure’s Magazine from December 1900 to October 1901 as well as in Cassell’s Magazine from January to November 1901, and first published in book form by Macmillan & Co. Ltd in October 1901. The story unfolds against the backdrop of the Great Game, the political conflict between Russia and Britain in Central Asia. The novel popularized the phrase and idea of the Great Game.
Considered by many to be Kipling’s masterpiece, opinion appears varied about its consideration as children’s literature or not. Roger Sale, in his history of children’s literature, concludes “Kim is the apotheosis of the Victorian cult of childhood, but it shines now as bright as ever, long after the Empire’s collapse…”
About a reissue of the novel in 1959 by Macmillan, the reviewer opines “Kim is a book worked at three levels. It is a tale of adventure…It is the drama of a boy having entirely his boy’s own way… and it is the mystical exegesis of this pattern of behaviour…” This reviewer concludes “Kim will endure because it is a beginning like all masterly ends…”
Nirad C. Chaudhuri considered it the best story (in English) about India itself – singling out Kipling’s appreciation of the ecological force of “the twin setting of the mountains and the plain…an unbreakable articulation between the Himalayas and the Indo-Gangetic plain”.
Joseph Rudyard Kipling 30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936 was an English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist. He was born in British India, which inspired much of his work.
Kipling’s works of fiction include the Jungle Book dilogy (The Jungle Book, 1894; The Second Jungle Book, 1895), Kim (1901), the Just So Stories (1902) and many short stories, including The Man Who Would Be King (1888). His poems include “Mandalay” (1890), “Gunga Din” (1890), “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” (1919), “The White Man’s Burden: The United States and the Philippine Islands” (1899), and “If—” (1910). He is seen as an innovator in the art of the short story. His children’s books are classics; one critic noted “a versatile and luminous narrative gift.”
Kipling in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was among the United Kingdom’s most popular writers. Henry James said “Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius, as distinct from fine intelligence, that I have ever known.” In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, as the first English-language writer to receive the prize, and at 41, its youngest recipient to date. He was also sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and several times for a knighthood but declined both. Following his death in 1936, his ashes were interred at Poets’ Corner, part of the South Transept of Westminster Abbey.
Kipling’s subsequent reputation has changed with the political and social climate of the age. The contrasting views of him continued for much of the 20th century. Literary critic Douglas Kerr wrote: “[Kipling] is still an author who can inspire passionate disagreement and his place in literary and cultural history is far from settled. But as the age of the European empires recedes, he is recognized as an incomparable, if controversial, interpreter of how empire was experienced. That, and an increasing recognition of his extraordinary narrative gifts, make him a force to be reckoned with.”
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