London: Macmillan and Company, 1937. Item #03405
The Best and Rarest Edition of the Works of Rudyard Kipling
One of the Signed Sets that Escaped the Blitz of London
KIPLING, Rudyard. The Sussex Edition of the Complete Works in Prose and Verse of Rudyard Kipling. London: Published by Macmillan and Company, 1937-1939.
One of 500 sets signed by Rudyard Kipling (this being No. 219) and printed on hand-made paper.
Complete in thirty-five royal octavo volumes (9 1/2 x 6 5/8 inches; 241 x 163 mm.). Half-titles printed in rust. The first sheet of each signature bears Kipling’s familiar Ganesha watermark.
Publisher’s full niger morocco, covers double-ruled in gilt, spine lettered in gilt in compartments, five raised bands, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt on the rough, all others uncut. Minimal and uniform fading to spines, otherwise a very fine set.
“During the last years of his life, Kipling was engaged in a complete revision of his works, and the text of the Sussex edition represents his final revised text. Two volumes of uncollected prose and much verse are here collected for the first time. This de luxe, signed edition was published after the author’s death by Macmillan & Co. and is limited to 525 sets of which 500 are for sale. Unfortunately, a substantial portion of the edition was destroyed in unbound sheets during the bombing of London in 1941.” (Stewart. Rudyard Kipling a Bibliographical Catalogue, Toronto, 1959, p. 577.)
The Sussex Edition was envisioned by his long-time publisher Macmillan as a monument to Kipling.
Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was an English short-story writer, poet, and novelist. He wrote tales and poems of British soldiers in India and stories for children. He was born in Bombay, in the Bombay Presidency of British India, and was taken by his family to England when he was five years old. Kipling's works of fiction include The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901), 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" (1899), and "If—" (1910). He is regarded as a major innovator in the art of the short story; his children's books are classics of children's literature; and one critic described his work as exhibiting "a versatile and luminous narrative gift".
Rudyard Kipling was one of the most popular writers in England, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 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, making him the first English-language writer to receive the prize, and its youngest recipient to date. Among other honors, he was sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and on several occasions for a knighthood, all of which he declined. Kipling's subsequent reputation has changed according to the political and social climate of the age and the resulting contrasting views about him continued for much of the 20th century. George Orwell called him a "prophet of British imperialism".Literary critic Douglas Kerr wrote: "He [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."
Stewart, p. 577.