"People who are interested in modern poetry are not enamoured of my stuff"

Kipling, Rudyard, English novelist and short story writer (1865-1936). Eight autograph and typed letters, signed.

Various, 3 October 1918 - 23 June 1935.

11 pp. in total, various sizes from 115 x 90 mm, typed and handwritten. On the stationery of Bateman's Burwash, Sussex, with one exception (Palace Hotel, Jersey).


Eight signed letters by Rudyard Kipling on literary themes, to his long-time correspondent Ronald Barnes, 3rd Baron Gorell (1884-1963) and long-time editor of the Cornhill Magazine. Ranging from discussions of WWI poetry and the rise of Nazism to the fickle tastes for poetry among the masses, Kipling and Barnes kept up a lively conversation for decades. In 1933, Kipling puts forward a theory on war poetry:

"This isn't a world, just now, where there is general recognition of Beauty. Did you notice how, after the War, the men who sung dwelt, quite naturally, on the harsh lines and colours of the wreckage in which they had lived for years. And their metres conformed to their scheme. Later, when they drew free of the first stresses, they pinned their themes to some small intense personal aspect of some small thing, long watched and intensely pored over. (All the same as a man under fire in a tobacco field for hours, watches the wet trickling down the veined leaves till they seem part of his brain.) The fellows who hadn't 'been there' imitated - that's my theory - and emphasized the note and structure of harshness without the authentic experiences to bite it in." A few years later, Kipling reflects on his legacy: "Moreover, people who are interested in modern poetry are not enamoured of my stuff which, to them, represents - quite naturally - outworn methods, settings and adjectives, plus an objectionable 'political outlook and orientation'".

Kipling advises Gorell to avoid Pope's 'heroic' tradition' within his own poetry, praises an article by Wylde on modern India, and disputes Gorell's faith in progress: "It is not 'progress' nor have 'brigandage and warfare' ceased within this land. Any one who takes a walk after paying his taxes knows better". He praises the Cornhill Magazine, discusses the thankless job of running any magazine, and questions the purpose of releasing public statements in praise of Cornhill: "I know all this sounds abominably ungracious, but, after all, one has only one life to live".


Previously sold at Sotheby's, 17 July 1997, lot 443.


Only the slightest hints of edgewear; in excellent condition.

Stock Code: BN#63287 Tag: