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Christopher Benfey
Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, MA 01075-1461)
Kipling's Ark: The Making and Unmaking of an American Writer

A study of the Nobel-prize-winning British writer Rudyard Kipling’s engagement with the United States, especially during four years he spent living in Vermont. By focusing on Kipling's "American decade" (1889-99), the book will provide a fresh perspective on Kipling's life and works, as well as on the American Gilded Age. 

From 1890 to 1920 and beyond, Rudyard Kipling was the most popular writer in the world, winning a Nobel Prize in 1907, but his reputation has suffered a strange eclipse. “Kipling’s Ark: The Making and Unmaking of an American Writer” seeks to address a conspicuous lacuna in efforts to make sense of Kipling’s varied career. Kipling’s intense engagement with the United States—on a personal, political, and aesthetic level—has never received the attention it deserves. The central focus of my book is Kipling’s American decade, extending from 1889 to 1899, with special attention to his four-year sojourn in Vermont. Seven individual chapters, blending narrative with essayistic elaboration, will address key moments and encounters during the decade, while also offering a fresh perspective—Kipling’s own—on the American Gilded Age, the subject of four previous trade books I have published.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
American Studies; Literary Criticism; Literature, General

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017