50 new Rudyard Kipling poems uncovered
Will join an upcoming compendium of 1,300 Kipling poems
A treasure trove of 50 unpublished Rudyard Kipling poems has been discovered during renovations at a house in Manhattan.
Thomas Pinney, a professor of English at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., uncovered the works in an archive at the house of the former head of the Cunard cruise line — Sir Percy Bates, one of Kipling's close friends.
The Nobel-winning author, who died in 1936, is known for works such as The Jungle Book, Just So Stories and Kim.
The newly discovered poems will be released for the first time next month. Included in the archive were notes from a journal the writer kept on his 1924 tour of war graves in France and Belgium.
"Kipling has long been neglected by scholars, probably for political reasons," Pinney told The Guardian newspaper, referring to the poet’s link to British imperialism, for which he was castigated by fellow writers.
"His texts have never properly been studied, but things are starting to change," Pinney added.
"There is a treasure trove of uncollected, unpublished and unidentified work out there…It is a tremendously exciting time for scholars and for fans of Kipling."
Several of the poems date back to the First World War, which the writer had supported — even helping to get his son John enlisted with the Irish Guards.
However, when his son died in 1915 during the Battle of Loos, Kipling expressed his deep regret by writing Epitaphs of the War: "If any question why we died / Tell them, because our fathers lied."
Beyond the theme of war, other poems in the trove explore contemporary issues of the time. In the poem In The Press, he lashes out at the media and how it infringes on private lives: "Have you any morals? / Does your genius burn? / Was your wife a what's its name? / How much did she earn?"
Kipling, who was born in Bombay, gained notoriety for works such as Gunga Din, The White Man’s Burden and Mandalay. A writer of fiction, short stories and poems, he won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907.
The unpublished poems will be included in a compendium of 1,300 of Kipling's poems — the three-volume Cambridge Edition of The Poems of Rudyard Kipling — being released on March 7.
Linda Bree, arts and literature editorial director of Cambridge University Press, called the recently-discovered poems "very engaging."
Bree said she thinks Kipling’s works will resonate with readers.
"They are about simple situations [and] they speak more clearly to the ordinary reader for that reason," she told The Guardian.