"Every one wanted to say so much that no one said anything in particular": First Edition of Rudyard Kipling's Captains Courageous

  • Captains Courageous.

Captains Courageous.

$1,000.00

Item Number: 74077

London: Macmillan, 1897.

First edition of Kipling’s richly detailed tale of American deep-sea fishing, with frontispiece and 21 illustrations by I.W. Taber. Octavo, original blue cloth eleganted stamped in gilt. In near fine condition with only light wear to the extremities. Housed in a contemporary half morocco clamshell box. An exceptional example.

Like his two Jungle Books, Kipling wrote this morality tale of life aboard a New England fishing boat while living near Brattleboro, Vermont, his wife’s hometown. The book thus contains “something of his feelings about America—both his affection and his irritation” (Carpenter & Prichard, 296). “This is the only book of Kipling’s which is set entirely in America. All the characters are American. Not only that, but the heart of the book—its moral in a single sentence—is one of Kipling’s main beliefs of this period expressed in terms essentially American, or perhaps more particularly New England. He put it later in verse: ‘And the Gods of the Copy-book Maxims said: ‘If you don’t work you will die!’ It is a saga of hard physical work in conflict with natural forces. It is a book which could hardly have been written by anyone who did not admire Huckleberry Finn; it is a book whose claim to survival rests mainly on detail, and it is all American detail” (Mason, 119).

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