With Illustrations by I.W. Taber. London: Macmillan and Co., 1897. 2 pp undated ads. Original blue cloth pictorially decorated in gilt, all page edges gilt.
First English Edition, published about a month after the American. This is Kipling's great novel about the cod fishing fleet of Gloucester Massachusetts, written while the newlywed Kiplings lived in Vermont. Kipling freely acknowledged that the book owed much to Dr. James Conland of Brattleboro, who brought the Kiplings' elder daughter into the world -- for Conland had been a member of the Massachusetts fishing fleet, and it was he who took Kipling to explore the wharves and quays of Boston and Gloucester. (The American edition, in fact, is dedicated to Conland; this English edition bears no dedication.)
This is the only book of Kipling's which is set entirely in America. All the characters are American. Not only that, but the heart of the book -- its moral in a single sentence -- is one of Kipling's main beliefs of this period expressed in terms essentially American, or perhaps more particularly New England. He put it later in verse: "...If you don't work you will die!" It is a saga of hard physical work in conflict with natural forces. It is a book which could hardly have been written by anyone who did not admire Huckleberry Finn; it is a book whose claim to survival rests mainly on detail, and it is all American detail. [Mason]
CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS was the fourth and last volume to be bound in Macmillan's attractive gift binding style used for the JUNGLE BOOKs in 1894-1895 and for SOLDIER TALES in 1896. In 1937, forty years after publication, this tale was made into a film starring Freddie Bartholomew, Spencer Tracy (who won an Oscar), Lionel Barrymore and Mickey Rooney.
This is a bright, near-fine copy (spine slightly darkened, very slight rubbing at the extremities, occasional light foxing); the original black-coated endpapers are not cracked. Richards A103; Stewart 163. Item #15201