Christopher Benfey has written a masterful biography of Rudyard Kipling’s years in the US.
It is a little-remembered period from the life of the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner for literature.
Benfey, the Andrew W. Mellon professor of English at Mount Holyoke, “sets out to return Kipling not to the right side of history but to this side of the Atlantic,” Stacy Schiff said in a review for The New York Times.
“Like Hemingway’s in Havana or Joyce’s in Zurich, Kipling’s American years make for a fertile foreign chapter. They yielded the bulk of his most popular work,” said Schiff.
Benfey “eloquently argues not only that Kipling’s engagement with the US made him the writer he became, but that he lavishly returned the favor,” said the review. Benfey “reminds us of our debt to a category-demolishing, globe-striding man who indeed contained multitudes, the author of an immortal ode to equanimity who fled America because of a sordid brawl with his brother-in-law,” added the review.