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American Notes

American Notes by Rudyard Kipling
By: (1865-1936)

In American Notes, Rudyard Kipling, the Nobel Prize-winning author of the Jungle Book, visits the USA. As the travel-diary of an Anglo-Indian Imperialist visiting the USA, these American Notes offer an interesting view of America in the 1880s.

Kipling affects a wide-eyed innocence, and expresses astonishment at features of American life that differ from his own, not least the freedom (and attraction) of American women. However, he scorns the political machines that made a mockery of American democracy, and while exhibiting the racist attitudes that made him controversial in the 20th century concludes “It is not good to be a negro in the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

G. A. England of Harvard University (letter to The New York Times 10/11/1902) wrote: “To the American temperament, the gentleman who throws stones while himself living in a glass house cannot fail to be amusing; the more so if, as in Mr Kipling’s case, he appears to be in a state of maiden innocence regarding the structure of his own domicile.”

Summary by Tim Bulkeley with Quotations from the Gutenberg edition of American Notes and the online version of The New York Times of October 11th 1902.

First Page:


by Rudyard Kipling

With Introduction


In an issue of the London World in April, 1890, there appeared the following paragraph: "Two small rooms connected by a tiny hall afford sufficient space to contain Mr. Rudyard Kipling, the literary hero of the present hour, 'the man who came from nowhere,' as he says himself, and who a year ago was consciously nothing in the literary world."

Six months previous to this Mr. Kipling, then but twenty four years old, had arrived in England from India to find that fame had preceded him. He had already gained fame in India, where scores of cultured and critical people, after reading "Departmental Ditties," "Plain Tales from the Hills," and various other stories and verses, had stamped him for a genius.

Fortunately for everybody who reads, London interested and stimulated Mr. Kipling, and he settled down to writing. "The Record of Badalia Herodsfoot," and his first novel, "The Light that Failed," appeared in 1890 and 1891; then a collection of verse, "Life's Handicap, being stories of Mine Own People," was published simultaneously in London and New York City; then followed more verse, and so on through an unending series... Continue reading book >>

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