|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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A lovely presentation of this work
Plain Tales from the Hills (published 1888) is the first collection of short stories by Rudyard Kipling. Out of its 40 stories, “eight-and-twenty”, according to Kipling’s Preface, were initially published in the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore, Punjab, British India between November 1886 and June 1887. “The remaining tales are, more or less, new.” (Kipling had worked as a journalist for the CMG—his first job—since 1882, when he was not quite 17.)
The title refers, by way of a pun on “Plain” as the reverse of “Hills”, to the deceptively simple narrative style; and to the fact that many of the stories are set in the Hill Station of Simla—the “summer capital of the British Raj” during the hot weather. Not all of the stories are, in fact, about life in “the Hills”: Kipling gives sketches of many aspects of life in British India.
The tales include the first appearances, in book form, of Mrs. Hauksbee, the policeman Strickland, and the Soldiers Three (Privates Mulvaney, Ortheris and Learoyd).
In the preface to his short stories collection “Dr. Brodie’s Report”, Jorge Luis Borges wrote he was inspired by the quality and conciseness of Plain Tales from the Hills.
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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