KIM, by Rudyard Kipling - 1901 [1st ed., illustrated]


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by Rudyard Kipling 

First edition.  London:  Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1901  

Hardback is overall in VERY GOOD condition.

  • Red cloth covers are mostly clean, with gilt medallion on front. 
  • Boards show some aging, dings, edgewear.  Corners are bumped and scuffed.  See photos. 
  • Spine has gilt text and is a little darkened with crushed ends.
  • Binding is secure, some tenderness at front cover.  See photos.  
  • Pastedowns and feps have some moderate foxing, writing, bookseller sticker.  See photos.   
  • Frontispiece is present and has intact tissue guard.  
  • Illustrations, black and white photographs, are bright and clear.  
  • Interior is gently age-toned.  Inside pages are free of writing and intentional marks.
  • Text block edges have gilt along head, worn; fore and foot edges have foxing, stains.  See photos.
  • Publisher's advertisements at back of book.  
  • PS2024.0124

413 pages. 5.25 x 7.75 inches

Very good copy of the first edition of Rudyard Kipling's picaresque novel, which originally appeared in serial format.  Kipling (1865-1936) lived in British India, and his novel featuring the orphan Kim is filled with details of life in India at the end of the 19th century.

With regard to the swastika depicted on the cover medallion and the verso of the half title page:  in Sanskrit the word means “fortunate” or “well-being.”  Kipling’s introduction to the swastika as an Hindu good luck symbol would have come through his father’s encyclopaedic knowledge of Indian art.  Kipling also knew that the Hindu trader opens his annual account-book with a swastika in order to ensure an auspicious beginning.

The extraordinary feature of the use of the symbol by Kipling’s publishers was that there was no uniformity in whether the right turn or left turn was used.  Frequently on introductory pages the ‘left’ is used, while on the ‘Ganesha roundel’ there is always a small ‘right’ swastika between the elephant’s forehead and the circle enclosing it.  Ganesha, the most immediately recognisable of Kipling’s “logos” shows the elephant headed God, symbol of wisdom and foresight.  Shown with his trunk down and curled to indicate good fortune, Ganesha holds in his trunk a lotus flower, also associated with good health and good fortune. 

AS IS! Please see photos. More photos available upon request.

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