A total of 50 previously unseen poems by Rudyard Kipling were recently discovered by an American scholar in a Manhattan home that was being renovated.
Thomas Pinney, Emeritus professor of English at Pomona College, discovered the poems, which are to be published next month. The Jungle Book author’s reputation suffered due to his association with British imperialism, noted Pinney. Though Kipling won the Nobel prize, others like George Orwell seemed to revile the author, branding him “the prophet of British Imperialism.”
“His texts have never properly been studied but things are starting to change,” said Pinney. “There is a treasure trove of uncollected, unpublished and unidentified work out there. I discovered another unrecorded item only recently and that sort of thing will keep happening. It is a tremendously exciting time for scholars and for fans of Kipling.”
MSN reports that the unseen Kipling poems were written around the time of the First World War, and that their subject matter is very diverse.
One poem seems to speak to the Great War: “This was a Godlike soul before it was crazed/No matter. The grave makes whole.” Another is a response to criticism in the media. “Why don’t you write a play — /Why don’t you cut your hair?/Do you trim your toe-nails round/Or do you trim them square?”
“They are all very engaging, and grab you immediately. A lot are very emotional little poems about the war, about his great identification with the ordinary British soldier, and his anger with the authorities,” said arts and literature editorial director of Cambridge University Press, Linda Bree.
According to The Guardian, the 50 unpublished Kipling poems will be included with over 1,300 of Kipling’s poems in the three-volume Cambridge Edition of The Poems of Rudyard Kipling, which will be the first ever complete edition of his works. It will be published on March 7.