The Jungle Book (First Edition) by Rudyard Kipling
The Jungle Book is a novel by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936). The first edition of this work was published in 1894 by Macmillan Publishers. Background
Kipling was born in India, and spent his childhood both there and in England. He wrote the Jungle Book stories after his marriage, when he and his wife and new baby built themselves a house in Vermont. Kipling stated that he put down in the stories his visions of the Indian jungle and the mysterious it contained for him during his childhood. He enjoyed writing the stories immensely, and also corresponding with his readers, the children, that wrote to him.
The book was assigned by the request of Sir Robert Baden-Powell to be used as a motivational text for the Cub Scouts.
Plot, Characters, Themes
The stories are fables, with anthropomorphic animals and exotic locations and stories used in order to give moral lessons. They are all set in India. A number of the stories feature a little Indian boy named Mowgli who is abandoned as a baby in the jungle and brought up by wolves and other friendly animals.
The stories have been interpreted as contemporary political and social allegories.
Kipling was an innovator in the short story genre, and his Jungle Book stories are internationally famous. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907, the first English writer to do so.
Notable auction sales and collecting tips
First editions of The Jungle Book (1894, Macmillan Publishers, London) are almost invariably sold together with The Second Jungle Book (1895, Macmillan Publishers, London). These first editions are worth much more if they retain their original bindings, blue cloth with gilt illustration. The first edition was illustrated, much of it by the author’s father, John Lockwood Kipling.
First editions of The Jungle Book together with The Second Jungle Book were sold by Freeman’s for $3,250 in September 2006, by Bonhams for $3,500 in December 2006, by Bloomsbury Auctions for £2,000 in June 2005, by Sotheby’s for £2,400 in March 2005 and $4,800 in April 2005, by Swann Auction Galleries for $5,200 in November 2004, and by Christie’s for £2,629 in June 2004, £3,346 in March 2004 and $6,900 in April 1997.
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