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Something of Myself: For My Friends Known…

Something of Myself: For My Friends Known and Unknown (1937)

by Rudyard Kipling

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An occasionally fascinating insight into the life and work of one of England's most celebrated authors; the part about his childhood was particularly interesting, though his little asides and knowing nods often left me wondering what he was talking about. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Aug 22, 2016 |
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Looking back from this my seventieth year, it seems to me that every card in my working life has been dealt me in such a manner that I had but to play it as it came.
“The House was not of a type to present to servants by lamp or candle-light. Hence electricity, which in 1902 was a serious affair. We chanced, at a week-end visit, to meet Sir William Willcocks, who had designed the Assouan Dam—a trifling affair on the Nile.
Not to be over-crowed, we told him of our project for declutching the water-wheel from an ancient mill at the end of our garden, and using its microscopical mill-pond to run a turbine. That was enough! ‘Dam?’ said he. ‘You don’t know anything about dams or turbines. I’ll come and look.’ That Monday morn he came with us, explored the brook and the mill-sluit, and foretold truly the exact amount of horse-power that we should get out of our turbine—‘Four and a half and no more.’ But he called me Egyptian names for the state of my brook, which, till then, I had deemed picturesque. ‘It’s all messed up with trees and bushes. Cut ’em down and slope the banks to one in three.’ ‘Lend me a couple of Fellahîn Battalions and I’ll begin,’ I said. He said also; ‘Don’t run your light cable on poles. Bury it.’ So we got a deep-sea cable which had failed under test at twelve
hundred volts—our voltage being one hundred and ten—and laid him in a trench from the Mill to the house, a full furlong, where he worked for a quarter of a century.”
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 184022567X, Paperback)

"Something of Myself", Rudyard Kipling's memoir of his writing life, was composed in the year before he died and published posthumously. Its spare, polished phrases and masterly anecdotes offer a unique insight into the mind of this divided man who upheld the Victorian imperialist values of duty, patriotism and obedience, and yet sympathized with outlaws and children. Kipling describes with unforgettable vividness his bitter childhood years in the 'House of Desolation', his apprenticeship to the craft of writing through the hard grind of journalism in British India, his beloved parents and his pride in his own work. Reissued with a new introduction by Jan Montefiore, author of the brilliant recent study "Rudyard Kipling", this memoir is indispensable reading not only for Kipling admirers, but for anyone who cares about the art and craft of writing.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:02 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Kipling was one of the most popular writers in English, both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Henry James famously said of him: "Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known." In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. This book is the world famous autobiography that Kipling penned toward the end of his life and sheds much detail on his life, career, travels and influences.… (more)

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