New Exhibition: Rudyard Kipling: The Books I Leave Behind

May 15, 2007

Rudyard Kipling, drawing by Sir William Nicholson, 1899.

The Appeal

If I have given you delight
By aught that I have done,
Let me lie quiet in that night
Which shall be yours anon:
And for that little, little span
The dead are borne in mind
Seek not to question other than
The books I leave behind.

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is pleased to announce a new exhibition: Rudyard Kipling: The Books I Leave Behind. The Books I Leave Behind will be on display at the library from June 1 to September 15th. 

For the last decade of the nineteenth century and at least the first two decades of the twentieth, Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was one of the most popular writers in the English language, in both prose and verse. Remembered today primarily as a fiction writer, Kipling was among the last British poets to command a mass audience, appealing to readers of all social classes and ages. Although his few novels, except Kim, were only a mixed success, in the medium of the short story Kipling extended the range of English fiction in both subject matter and technique and perhaps did more than any other author in the English language to blur the division between popular and high art.
Special attention in this exhibition is given to the bibliographic intricacies of Kipling’s printed output. His popularity meant that many editions of his work were issued—with revised texts, variant bindings, in special formats, and especially as unauthorized or “pirate” versions. The books and manuscripts shown here, gathered over the years by keen and discerning collectors, provide a picture of how Kipling’s stories and images traveled around the world in an amazing range of formats.

The exhibition is curated by David Alan Richards (Yale College Class of 1967, Yale Law School Class of 1972), and the majority of items on display are from the Kipling Collection he created and donated to the Beinecke Library. The exhibition also draws from the Kipling collections of Chauncey Depew and Matilda Tyler. A catalog documenting the exhibition will be available from Yale University Press. (TY)

“The Appeal,” by Rudyard Kipling, published posthumously, 1939.
Image: Rudyard Kipling, drawing by Sir William Nicholson, 1899.