KIPLING (RUDYARD) Autograph and typed letter signed with initials, to Rider Haggard, 1923
Lot 100
KIPLING (RUDYARD) Autograph and typed letter signed with initials, to Rider Haggard, 1923
Sold for £1,250 (US$ 2,042) inc. premium

Lot Details
KIPLING (RUDYARD)
Autograph and typed letter signed with initials, to Rider Haggard ('Dear old man'), suggesting to him a trilogy on the history of mankind, the autograph section largely a long note at the end, also with autograph corrections and additions throughout, headed 'Confidential and burn after reading': the trilogy, which would centre on the 'Wholly disinterested point of view of the [Wandering] Jew upon whom the Doom has not yet begun to work', was proposed by Kipling as an alternative to Haggard re-writing Wisdom's Daughter ('..."She" will abide and..."Wisdom's Daughter" could never be more than a gloss on "She". The only question is whether you have the time and the inclination to make it the deuce and all of a gloss...The little business might be worked out in a trilogy, quite easily...'), 2 pages, some spotting, [Kipling's occasional typing errors have been silently corrected in the quotations given herein], small folio, Bateman's, Burwash, 18 August 1923

Footnotes

  • KIPLING INTRODUCES THE WANDERING JEW TO RIDER HAGGARD, and suggests the following breakdown:

    Book One would deal with the origins of the man. Book Two would be about either the fall of the Roman Empire or the complete history of the Middle Ages. Book Three would centre on the Great War, incorporating two fifths of Haggard's Diary and the legend of Our Lady of the Trenches. Kipling ends the letter with the conviction that Haggard 'won't do one little bit of this' ('...but it will help stir you up to block out the first rough scenario in the intervals of answering the demands of idle idiots and helpless imbeciles, to which cheerful task I am now about to address myself...'), and alludes to his own.

    An important letter to one of Kipling's few real friends proposing the mythic Wandering Jew as the central character for a major work. Having insulted Christ as he was bearing the cross to Calvary, the Jew was condemned to wander the world until Judgment Day. At the end of every hundred years he falls into a trance and wakes up as a man of thirty years of age, becoming wiser and more repentant throughout the centuries. Although it appears that Kipling's suggestions for the trilogy were not followed, he was an important influence on Haggard's work, most notably in Red Eve. The friends shared broad brush views of history and the present proposal contains many of Kipling's own ideas and preoccupations. The allusion in the letter to 'Our Lady of the Trenches' anticipates Kipling's own tale of 'A Madonna of the Trenches', published in 1924 and incorporated in Debits and Credits two years later, in which a sergeant in the First World War sees the ghost of his lover in the trenches and kills himself in order to be united with her. As in other stories in Debits and Credits, such as 'The Church that was at Antioch' and 'The Manner of Men', St Paul plays a central role, as Kipling suggests he should in Book Two of the trilogy. Other themes discussed in the letter were also taken up in stories such as 'The Enemies to Each Other', a pseudo-oriental version of the legend of Adam and Eve.
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