If you thought that this blog was called The Kipling Project because it made me feel like some sort of covert operative, you were wrong. I wouldn’t blow my cover so easily.
The fact of the matter, is that a collection of Rudyard Kipling’s work inspired this entire venture. “From Sea to Sea; Letters of Travel,” collects the author’s articles from his 1889 travels through India, Burma, China, Japan and the United States. In the collection’s preface, Kipling writes, “In these two volumes I have got together the bulk of the special correspondence and occasional articles written by my for the Civil and Military Gazette and the Pioneer between 1887-1889.”
The original edition was published in two volumes in 1899, by the Doubleday & McClure Company out of New York. Both volumes are currently worth approximately $175 in good condition. This must have been a triumphant steal for the company, as it had only just been founded in 1897. Fifty years later, 1947 exactly, it was the largest publishing house in the United States. Modern publishing is still building on these roots; DoubleDay merged with Knopf Publishing group in 2009, and the group they formed is now under Penguin Random House.
The collection I found contains a 1899 copyright, but there’s no guarantee to what that means for a print date. It contains a Doubleday & McClure Company trademark, as well as a notation for Norwood Press, J.S. Cushing & CO – Berwick & Smith, Norwood Mass. U.S.A. It appears that this company issued cheaper re-prints of popular works in the U.S.
My volumes are the Authorized Edition, though the preface puts that term into doubt, as Kipling says, “I have been forced into this action [of collecting the stories] by the enterprise of various publishers who, not content with disinterring old newspaper work from the decent seclusion of the office files, have in several instances seen fit to embellish it with additions and interpolations.”
This printing is worth significantly less, especially lacking the gilt embellishing originally on the spine, as mine is.
I love the idea of owning these volumes. I love Kipling. I love the sassy preface. Of course, I want to get them appraised with the rest of the books, but I’m sure they will inevitably end up in the keep pile, for sentimental value alone.