Kipling, Rudyard (1865 – 1936)

Kipling admits to plagiarism in The Jungle Book!

A one-page autograph letter signed by Rudyard Kipling, circa 1895, opening “I have been absent from home for some days. Hence the delay in answering yours of no date, in regard to my account of the Law of the Jungle.

Kipling goes on, “I am afraid that all that code in its outlines has been manufactured to meet ‘the necessities of the case’: though a little of it is bodily taken from (Southern) Esquimaux rules for the division of spoils. In fact, it is extremely possible that I have helped myself promiscuously but at present cannot remember from whose stories I have stolen. Very sincerely, Rudyard Kipling”. In very fine condition.

Kipling’s Law of the Jungle was a set of rules that, if followed, would ensure safety, justice and fairness for all who entered the jungle. It was a strictly hierarchical concept, incorporating ideas of subservience, obedience, and authority.

The Jungle Book was published in 1894. Letters by Kipling that mention his most enduring work are extremely rare