New Rudyard Kipling Poems Discovered: American Scholar Thomas Pinney Finds Over 50 Unseen Poems

Scholar Unearths Over 50 Never-Before-Seen Poems By Late Master

Searching through multiple hiding places, an American scholar and professor has discovered over 50 never-before-seen poems by the late British poet and author Rudyard Kipling.

Thomas Pinney, a professor emeritus of English at Pomona College in California, has uncovered dozens of poems by the celebrated writer in several different locations, including family papers, an old archive and a house in New York City, according to The Guardian.

The BBC reports that the new poems will be published with 1,300 others in "the first-ever complete edition of Kipling's verse" in March. Kipling is perhaps best known for his epic novel The Jungle Book, as well as poems such as "If" and "White Man's Burden."

The Guardian's Alison Flood writes that some poems date back to the first World War. The poetry shows the writer's evolution of opinion as before, during and after his son, who eventually died at the Battle of Loos in 1915, goes to war:

Kipling regretted his earlier enthusiasm for the conflict, writing in his "Epitaphs of the War:" "If any question why we died / Tell them, because our fathers lied."

A statement released by the Cambridge University Press, which will be publishing the edition, details several other interesting pieces of the discovery, including journal notes, a comicedic piece written on a sea voyage, and a poem about one of his pet peeves entitled "The Press."

"Kipling has long been neglected by scholars probably for political reasons," Pinney said in the statement. "His texts have never properly been studied but things are starting to change."

In 1897, leading American scholar Charles Eliot Norton wrote in The Atlantic that Kipling was endowed with a gift of imagination few men had ever had. With his poetry, Kipling "has quickened and deepened his sympathies with men of every class and race, and given him free entrance to their hearts."

NPR notes, however, that Kipling has something of a conflicted legacy, with other critics calling him an "apologist for British imperialism." Kipling won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907, "in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author."

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Thomas Pinney is a professor emeritus of English at the University of California. He taught at Pomona College in California. Minor spelling mistakes in this piece have been corrected.

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