Marlboro College

News Marlboro College and Kipling Society to Co-Host Symposium

“Kipling in America” to be held October 7 and 8

MARLBORO, VT — (September 12, 2013) — For the first time in its history, the London-based Kipling Society will hold a symposium in the United States, titled “Kipling in America, 1892-1896,” on October 7 and 8. The two-day event will be hosted at Marlboro College’s Ragle Hall and at Naulakha in Dummerston, Vermont, where Rudyard Kipling and his wife once planned to make their lifelong home.

“It was a great honor to be approached as a host for the ‘Kipling in America’ symposium, and very much in keeping with the rich literary tradition here at Marlboro,” said Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, Marlboro College president. Marlboro’s Rice-Aron Library holds a substantial and unique collection of Kipling manuscripts and artifacts.

“We are particularly glad that Marlboro College is hosting the symposium, because of its proximity to Naulakha, the remarkable Kipling collection in the Marlboro library, and the generous welcome and help we have received from the college,” said John Radcliffe, organizer of the symposium and general editor of the online “New Readers’ Guide to the works of Rudyard Kipling.”

While Kipling is well known for his stories, poems, and novels based in India, the first ideas for Kim and Just So Stories came to him while he was living in Vermont. He also wrote some of his most popular books, including the two Jungle Books, a collection of stories called The Day's Work, and the novel Captains Courageous, during his richly productive stay in Vermont. “Kipling in America” celebrates the author’s Vermont years and legacy with a range of distinguished presentations and discussions.

Thomas Pinney, editor of the new Cambridge edition of Kipling’s poems, will give the keynote address titled “What did the neighbors think” on the first day, hosted by Marlboro College. Speakers will also include noted Kipling scholars from both Britain and America: Daniel Karlin of Bristol University, U.C. Knoepflmacher of Princeton, Tricia Lootens of the University of Georgia, Jan Montefiore of the University of Kent, and Judith Plotz of George Washingon University. David Richards, editor of the definitive Kipling bibliography, will discuss a recently discovered manuscript with advice about story-writing from Kipling to his sister-in-law Josephine.

The first day will also offer the opportunity to explore the remarkable collection of Kipling documents held in the Marlboro College Rice-Aron Library. In addition to the more than 400 catalogued and several uncatalogued items in the collection, the participants will see the contents of the small lock box forgotten for over 90 years in the vault of a Brattleboro bank. These include the Kiplings' wedding certificate, a will, and early drafts of eight poems (one never published). The Marlboro collection also includes a little known but important memoir by Mary Cabot, a local historian and close friend of the Kiplings, who gives a rare and intimate picture of their personal lives and relations.

“This is particularly valuable because they were reclusive, trying to shun the unwanted publicity which seemed to follow them about. By that time Kipling was a major celebrity,” said Tom Ragle, former president of Marlboro College who will present the Marlboro Kipling collection along with Emily Alling, library director, and Sally Andrews, former library director.

The second day of the symposium will be hosted at Naulakha, the home in Dummerston the Kiplings had designed and had built for them, now beautifully and authentically restored by the Landmark Trust USA. In addition to a tour of Naulakha, participants will be treated to a talk by Charles Fish of the Dummerston Historical Society on “Vermont and Vermonters in Kipling’s Day,” as well as readings by Mary Hamer from her novel about Kipling and his sister, Kipling and Trix.

The symposium is open to the public, but participants must register before October 4. The Kipling Society is particularly keen for as many Vermonters as possible to attend and has set the basic registration fee accordingly at $15. Details of how to register for the event may be found on the Kipling Society web site at or see full program.

Speaker Bios

Thomas Pinney, is Professor of English Emeritus at Pomona College, Claremont, California. He recently published a magisterial three-volume Cambridge Edition of the Poems of Rudyard Kipling. Of more than 1300 poems in this edition, over 500 have never before been collected, and 50 are previously unpublished.

Daniel Karlin is the Winterstoke Professor of English at the University of Bristol. His primary field of research is Victorian poetry, especially the work of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. He has written extensively about Kipling, and has edited The Jungle Books for Penguin Classics and a major selection of Kipling’s poetry and prose for Oxford University Press.

U. C. Knoepflmacher, the Paton Foundation Professor of Ancient and Modern Literature Emeritus at Princeton University, has published and edited numerous books and articles on 19th-century British fiction and poetry. His recent writings on Kipling include: “The Chameleon Kipling: His Rise, Fall, and Rehabilitation,” “Kipling’s ‘Mixy’ Creatures,” and “Kipling as Browning: from Parody to Translation.”

Tricia Lootens is currently Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Georgia, where she works in 19th-century poetry and feminist criticism. She is the author of Hemans and Home: Romanticism, Victorianism, and the Domestication of National Identity, and her recent writing has focused on Victorian patriotic poetry and on transatlantic connections among female political poets.  

Jan Montefiore is professor of 20th century English literature at Kent University, where she has taught since 1978. er H Her long-standing interest in Rudyard Kipling’s work is reflected in her publications, most recently the edited collection In Time’s Eye: Essays on Rudyard Kipling. She is general editor of Kipling titles for Penguin Classics, has directed conferences on Kipling’s work in 2007 (Canterbury) and 2011 (London), and now edits the Kipling Journal

Judith Plotz is Professor Emerita at George Washington University, where she is a scholar of British romanticism, children’s literature, and colonial and postcolonial literature. Besides various articles published on Kipling over the past 20 years, she has edited the Penguin Just So Stories and is completing a book on Kipling as a children’s writer.

David Alan Richards is a vice president of the Kipling Society, and his collection of Kipling books and manuscripts, the world’s largest, is now at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale. His Rudyard Kipling: A Bibliography was published in 2010, and has been nominated for the International League of Antiquarian Bookseller’s Breslauer Prize as one of the world’s best bibliographies in the last four years.  

Tom Ragle served as president of Marlboro College from 1958 to 1981, and was instrumental in the creation of the college’s distinguished Kipling collection. He has been director of the Salzburg Seminar (1983-89), and special consultant to the United Nations Development Program in Beijing, China, on the teaching of English literature at the university level (1989-91). He serves on the board of Write Action.

Charles Fish has taught at Princeton, Windham College, and Western New England College. A lifelong scribbler, he has a particular interest in local history and is active in the Dummerston Historical Society. His books include Blue Ribbons and Burlesque: A Book of Country Fairs, and In Good Hands: The Keeping of a Family Farm.

Mary Hamer taught at Cambridge before becoming a fellow of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard. She’s written about Trollope’s working papers, the mapping of Ireland, and the representation of Cleopatra in the West. Kipling and Trix, her fifth book and first novel, was awarded the Virginia Prize for Fiction.                                                      

Marlboro College
With locations in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains and downtown Brattleboro, Marlboro College provides independent thinkers with exceptional opportunities to broaden their intellectual horizons, benefit from a small and close-knit learning community, create a strong framework for personal and career fulfillment and make a positive difference in the world. At our undergraduate campus in the town of Marlboro and our Center for Graduate and Professional Studies in Brattleboro, students engage in deep exploration of their interests—and discover new avenues for using their skills to benefit themselves and others—in an atmosphere that emphasizes critical and creative thinking, independence, social justice, sustainability, and community.

The Kipling Society
Founded in 1927, the Kipling Society is for everyone interested in the prose and verse, and life and times, of Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936). It is one of the most active and enduring literary societies in Britain, and attracts a world-wide membership. The society publishes a quarterly, Kipling Journal, and maintains the Kipling Library in City University in London.




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