Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Complete Mowgli Stories, Duly Annotated by Rudyard Kipling with Wemyss & Pyle

The Complete Mowgli Stories, Duly Annotated

Paperback: 270 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2 edition ()
ISBN-13: 978-1481149204
Kindle: 2311 KB
Publisher: Bapton Books; 2 revised edition (November 21, 2011)

Available on Amazonand on Smashwords.

Understanding Kipling

I don't think I would have thought to pick this up except that we are reading this in our goodreads group. Why would I want to read the Mowgli Stories, with footnotes? It turns out it is rather fascinating. The editors are two historians, one a Brit, the other a Texan, and they each have a preface. Mr. Wemyss talks about the historical context that Kipling wrote in "Kipling and the Kaiser" and Mr. Pyle talks about dryland farming and the physical setting in which the stories are set.

The footnotes themselves are a mix of historical and humorous bordering on acerbic. Excerpt:

This talk went in at one ear and out at the other, for a boy who spends his life eating and sleeping does not worry about anything till it actually stares him in the face.78

78 - Of course we don't know anyone like that, do we.
And the next footnote is an informational one about the Indian tropical monsoons. Finding those asides were funny.

Reading this book is a bit like watching a dvd with the Director's Commentary turned on - you get a running commentary that gives you a lot more insight into both what's on the page and what was behind Kipling's writing. Quite absorbing for anyone who has even a slight interest in history.

I can see it being a cool gift for a younger person too - although it isn't illustrated, they can read it straight through, ignoring footnotes the first time around, and on re-reads explore the notes. Specially with the new Jungle Book movie in theaters now, Mowgli related gifts might be more popular than ever.

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