MARLBORO, Vt. (AP) — Rudyard Kipling scholars are hoping that focusing on the productive years that the author spent living in Vermont will engender a new appreciation for him and his work.
The Kipling Society is holding its first-ever meeting outside the United Kingdom. The keynote address was given Monday at Marlboro College in Vermont.
In it, a retired Pomona College professor Thomas Pinney described how Kipling did not get along with the American press, but he was well liked by his neighbors.
While living in Vermont from 1892 to 1896, Kipling snow-shoed in winter and went to barn dances.
Janet Montefiore, the editor of the Kipling Journal, says Kipling was an ideologist of 19th Century British imperialism, but he was also a wonderful tale teller who was interested in people.
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Some of the world's most renowned scholars of Rudyard Kipling are hearing this week about the years he lived in Vermont, penning some of his most famous works far from the Indian subcontinent where he made his name.
The British author lived in Dummerston when he wrote "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," the story of a mongoose that battled two vicious cobras in far-away India while protecting his human family from harm, said Thomas Pinney, who will give the keynote address Monday at Marlboro College.
He lived there from 1892 to 1896, a time when there was rising anti-English sentiment in the United States. Over time, Kipling soured on the United States, although he continued to like many Americans, said Pinney, a retired professor from California's Pomona College.
"So I thought what I would do, since Kipling told us so much about what he thought about Americans, I'd find out what the Americans thought about him, especially the locals in Vermont," Pinney said. "I thought I'd find a lot of hostile remarks, but it didn't work that way. It appears they liked him. They were sympathetic and flattered by the presence of a great man."
Pinney is among about 60 Kipling scholars from the United Kingdom and the U.S. meeting at Marlboro College on Monday and Tuesday. They are viewing some of the college's Kipling holdings, including the contents of a safe deposit box discovered untouched in the early 1990s after almost a century in a Brattleboro bank.
During Kipling's time in Vermont he also wrote the "The Jungle Book," ''Captains Courageous," the poems of "The Seven Seas" and many of the stories in "The Day's Work" and "Many Inventions."
Kipling was attracted to Vermont because of his American wife. Part of the draw for the scholars will be the Tuesday tour of Naulakha, the home he built in the shape of a ship, high on a hill overlooking the Connecticut River.