Puck of Pook's Hill. Rudyard Kipling.
Puck of Pook's Hill
Puck of Pook's Hill
Puck of Pook's Hill
Puck of Pook's Hill
Puck of Pook's Hill
Puck of Pook's Hill

Puck of Pook's Hill

London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1906. First edition. Hardcover. This is a magnificent copy of the British first edition in the exceptionally scarce dust jacket. Puck of Pook’s Hill is Kipling’s abidingly English collection of ten stories and sixteen poems, informed by English history and animated by English mythology, for a youthful audience. This British first edition was published with twenty illustrations by Harold R. Millar. This is the first publication of the sixteen poems. Preceding the British and American first editions, the stories had appeared in Strand magazine, as well as in Ladies’ Home Journal and McClure’s Magazine in America. “Several minor changes were made in the story texts, as printed in book form, and there are numerous but unimportant textual differences between the English and American Editions.” (Richards, A205) This copy is a rarity thus – truly fine in a very good plus dust jacket. The red cloth binding is improbably, immaculately bright and tight, with sharp corners, vivid gilt, and no appreciable wear. The contents are pristine – crisp and bright with no previous ownership marks, no spotting, clean fore and bottom edges, and bright gilt top edge. The book feels unread. Four pages of advertisements at the rear, dated “N.15.8.06” as detailed by Richards. The dust jacket shows no discernible fading of the red print, no spine toning, and the sole loss is a .375 inch deep chip at the spine head. We note modest overall soiling and trivial wear to extremities. The dust jacket is protected beneath a removable, archival quality clear cover. The book is housed in a quarter leather slipcase with rounded spine and raised bands framed by blind rules. The red cloth sides feature beveled edge opening and a nested, matching red cloth folding chemise lined with gray paper. The slipcase is very good plus, with a few minor scuffs to the leather spine. When first published, Kipling referred to the first four stories as “part of scheme of mine for trying to give children not a notion of history but a notion of time sense which is at the bottom of all history that rightly understood means love of one’s fellow man and the land one lives in”. (Letters 3, p.189) Siblings Dan and Una of rural Sussex are reciting A Midsummer Night’s Dream to one another on Midsummer Eve near the titular “Pook’s Hill” when they summon Puck – “a small, brown, broad-shouldered, pointy-eared person with a snub nose, slanting blue eyes, and… a wicked twinkle in his eye”. Puck introduces himself as “the oldest Old Thing in England” and introduces a procession of figures from English history – among them a Roman centurion, a Saxon monk, a Norman knight, a Viking sea captain, and so on. Rewards and Fairies, published in 1910, added additional stories and poems. Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was an English poet, short-story writer, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, stories and poems of British India, and his tales for children.  Despite this reputation, Kipling’s extraordinary body of work “eludes all labels in its range and variety… Kipling's work is not only of the highest artistic excellence, it is deeply humane 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, the year after this book was published. This book has two instances - on the gilt front cover device and on the half title verso – of the swastika symbol prevalent in Kipling’s published works. Named from the Sanskrit svastika, which means “good fortune”, this ancient hooked cross was used at least 5,000 years before being perverted by Hitler’s Reich.  It remains sacred in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Odinism. The swastika came to Kipling’s attention through his father's encyclopaedic knowledge of Indian art. Bibliographic reference: Richards A205. Item #004296

Price: $2,750.00

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