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The Naulahka

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The Naulahka

by KIPLING, Rudyard

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  • very good
Very Good
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About This Item

Methuen & Co, 1910. Hard Cover. Very Good. Original full gilt limp red leather. A very good copy. Owner's name on end-paper.


On Apr 6 2012, Feeney said:
Together, two young best friends, Englishman Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936) and American Charles Wolcott Balestier (1861 - 1891) as early as July 1890 agreed to compose together THE NAULAHKA - A STORY OF WEST AND EAST. While this collaborative novel was being published in nine monthly installments in New York in The Century Magazine (November 1891 - July 1892), Wolcott Balestier died suddenly of typhoid fever in December 1891. *** Scholars are not in complete agreement about the relative roles of Kipling and Balestier in their novel about two young Coloradans Nicholas Tarvin and Kate Sheriff who sail off separately and for different reasons to the deserts of Rajputana, India for a few months of altruism (nurse Kate), greed and Colorado home town boosterism (Nicholas), and for adventure and danger (both). *** On learning in Lahore, India while visiting his parents, of Wolcott Balestier's unexpected death, Kipling rushed back to London, marrying Wolcott's sister Caroline "Carrie" ten days after arrival. For all future magazine issues (January to July 1892), and for the hardcover publications and revisions, Rudyard Kipling became solely responsible. ***The novel was made into a silent feature film in 1918 that follows the original novel fairly closely. It is possible to regard THE NAULAHKA (a numerical allusion "Nine-Lakhs" = 900,000) as a late nineteenth century predecessor of today's highly popular American literary genre, the "Christian Romance." In the latter genre the basic plot runs: gorgeous young Christian maiden loves Adonis-like pagan man. After vicissitudes maiden brings pagan to Jesus and all ends well. ***In THE NAULAHKA (the name of a fabulous necklace valued centuries earlier at nine lakhs/900,000 rupees whose centerpiece is a black diamond), there is a twist on the Christian Romance motif. Diminutive Kate Sheriff, while in boarding school in St. Louis, had heard a lecture by Pundita Ramabai, a visiting Hindu woman, about "the sad case of her sisters at home." Kate was instantly transformed: God wanted her to go as a medical missionary to India. After two years very hard, intense study she was an accredited nurse and came home to Topaz, Colorado, to say goodbye to her affluent parents. *** While there, local insurance salesman, property speculator, entrepreneur and rising politician, dashing young Nicholas Tarvin tried every formidable wile he knew to make Kate stay home in Colorado and marry him (they had known each other since childhood). But Kate traveled East alone to a Presbyterian mission in a forlorn princely state in Imperial British Rajputana, north of Bombay. *** Republican Party man Nick was in the middle of a winning campaign, ultimately overwhelmingly defeating Kate's easy-going Democratic Party father for a seat in the Colorado legislature. Suddenly a powerful railroad tycoon visited two nearby boom towns competing for his business. Nicholas Tarvin then cultivated and promised Mrs. Mutrie, the magnate's young wife, that he would bring her back the fabulous Naulahka and she in return would win her dotng husband's consent to turn Nick's home town Topaz into the centerpiece of a new north-south CC&C railroad line. *** That done, Nick speeds 14,000 miles west to India, beating the unsuspecting Kate by a few days to the princely city of Rhatore. The rest of the story tells the steps that Nick takes to find and secure the great necklace the Naulahka while nurse Kate keeps the Maharajah's eldest son alive despite the machinations of the all-powerful although only the newest and most junior (of 300 in the harem) royal wife, a murderous gypsy named Sitabhai. In a plot worthy of Indiana Jones, the young Americans face and survive plots to murder them both. Nick persuades the Maharajah to divert a river and pan for gold. The Raj's local British representative goes along with that development scheme to modernize the princely state of Gokral Seetarun. How can all this possibly turn out well for Christian maiden and her mostly amoral hustler lover? Read THE NAULAKHA and find out! *** There is a passing similarity to Kipling's long short story or novella of 1888, "The Man Who Would Be King," in which two British con men make themselves (briefly) rulers in Kaffiristan not far outside the British Raj. In THE NAULAHKA two late 19th Century Americans try for different personal reasons (she for God and he to make her his wife) and with varying degrees of success and failure to bring American know-how and hustle during a half-year or so to a hot desert British Indian princely kingdom and to its half-heartedly scheming but lethargic ruling class.-OOO-

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book dealer
Ken Spelman Books Ltd GB (GB)
Bookseller’s Inventory #
The Naulahka
KIPLING, Rudyard
Hard Cover
Book condition
second hand - Very Good
Quantity available
Methuen & Co
Date Published

Terms of Sale

Ken Spelman Books Ltd

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About the Seller

Ken Spelman Books Ltd

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since 2021
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About Ken Spelman Books Ltd

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The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in... [more]