The Jungle Books

By Rudyard Kipling; W. W. Robson | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

The Jungle Books, the most popular of Kipling's prose works, were written in the eighteen-nineties, the second phase of his literary career. Rudyard Kipling ( 1865- 1936) was a young English journalist who had enjoyed a spectacular success as fiction-writer and poet, first in India and then in London, in the previous decade. Now began what literary historians have called his American period. It was a happy time in his life, when, fresh from his Indian and British triumphs, he seemed to be on the verge of making a settled home in the United States with his American wife. Ahead still lay the much publicized vendetta with his eccentric brother-in-law Beatty Balestier, the flight from the United States in dismay and anger, the near-fatal illness, the death of his young daughter Josephine (the much loved 'Taffimai'), the embitterment over the South African War which embroiled Kipling in a mutually hostile relationship with the English liberal intelligentsia that to this day has never quite been resolved. All this was to make the last years of the century the worst period of his literary life. But none of it is foreshadowed in The Jungle Books, which still retain traces of that idyllic atmosphere of the early nineties that was never to return to Kipling's work.

The Jungle Books ( 1894-5), like two other great English books, Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland ( 1865) and Kenneth Grahame The Wind in the Willows ( 1908), can be regarded as stories told by an adult to children. Kipling's younger daughter Elsie (Mrs George Bambridge) described to Dr A. W. Yeats in 1955 how Kipling recited the tales to the children with the lights out in a semi-dark room, and 'the cold narratives of The Jungle Books and Just So Stories in book form left so much to be desired that she could not bear to read them or hear them read'. (See an article by D. H. Stewart in The Journal of Narrative Technique, vol. 15, no. 1, Winter 1985). But a

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The Jungle Books
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Contents ii
  • Title Page iii
  • The Jungle Books vi
  • Introduction xii
  • Select Bibliography xxxv
  • A Chronology of Kipling's Life and Works xxxviii
  • The Jungle Book xliii
  • Preface xlv
  • Mowgli's Brothers 1
  • Kaa's Hunting 22
  • Tiger! Tiger! 48
  • The White Seal 67
  • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi 87
  • Toomai of the Elephants 104
  • Her Majesty's Servants 125
  • The Second Jungle Book 145
  • Contents 147
  • How Fear Came 149
  • The Miracle of Purun Bhagat 168
  • Letting in the Jungle 183
  • The Undertakers 212
  • The King's Ankus 235
  • Quiquern 254
  • Red Dog 278
  • The Spring Running 303
  • Appendix A - In the Rukh 326
  • Appendix B - Ye Dare Not Look Him Between the Eyes' (the Jungle Book, P. II) 350
  • Explanatory Notes First Jungle Book 352
  • Explanatory Notes Second Jungle Book 362
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