London: Macmillan and Co., 1893. First English edition. Hardcover. This volume contains a series of short stories with original publication dates ranging from 1890 to early 1893. With this English first edition, “Macmillan became the sole English publisher of Kipling’s prose works for the rest of his life.” It was the first collection of stories written following Kipling's departure from India in 1889. The stories have themes ranging from the paranormal to naval adventures, and the jungle story 'In the Rukh', which is the first appearance of Mowgli, who would, of course, feature prominently in both Jungle Books, published in the two following years. This edition was also the first appearance of the opening and closing poems, “To the True Romance” and “Envoy” (later titled “Anchor Song”). The title of the volume is taken from Ecclesiastes vii. 29., which appears on the title page.
The book is bound in blue cloth with gilt print on the spine, ornamental gilt border at the spine head and upper front cover, blind stamped ornamental border at the bottom of the spine and front cover, and blind-stamped publisher’s device at the rear cover center. Condition is good plus. The boards and gilt remain bright, with light wear to hinges and extremities and a small spot of blistering near the front cover fore edge. The chief flaw that prevents our grading this copy as very good plus is a very tender front hinge, the gutter split at the second blank end sheet, with the mull and binding cords beneath exposed, just holding the first signature. The original dark green endpapers are intact. The contents are clean. We find no spotting and even the page edges are unusually free of spotting and soiling, showing only mild age toning. The sole previous ownership mark is a decorative bookplate affixed to the front pastedown. The book is housed in a marbled paper-lined blue cloth folding chemise, nested within a quarter blue morocco slipcase with rounded spine, raised spine bands, gilt print and transitions, beveled edges, and marbled paper lining. The slipcase is a bit scuffed and toned, but lovely work with a nice shelf presence.
This book came to us from the library of Nelson Doubleday Jr., son of Nelson Doubleday, and grandson of Frank Nelson Doubleday, Kipling’s friend and U.S. publisher and founder of the Doubleday publishing empire. F.N. Doubleday began work in the publishing industry working for Charles Scribner’s Sons. His 18-year career with Scribner’s included the task of assembling a complete set of Kipling's works for publication in a collected edition in 1897. His work with Kipling on this endeavor sparked a friendship and partnership that lasted for decades. Kipling affectionately gave Doubleday the nickname "Effendi", a play on the initials of his name - F.N.D. Frank's son Nelson was president of the firm from 1922 to 1946, as was Nelson Jr., from 1978 to 1983.
Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was an English poet, short-story writer, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. Despite this reputation, Kipling’s extraordinary body of work “eludes all labels in its range and variety… and fully expresses the sense of one of his favourite texts: ‘Praised be Allah for the diversity of his creatures.’” (ODNB) Kipling was in his twenties when his stories of Anglo-Indian life made him a literary celebrity, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907.
Born in India and educated in England, Kipling could not afford to attend either Oxford or Cambridge University and instead returned to India to work as a newspaper editor and writer, which proved formative. He returned to England in 1889, later living in the United States and South Africa before finally settling in England. Kipling remains the youngest person to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature and was also the first English language author awarded.
Reference: Richards A73. Item #004200