[April 25th 2011]
This collection, with thirty-one speeches, was published by Macmillan in 1928. The last six speeches, making thirty-seven in all, were published in the Sussex Edition, volume XXV, in 1938.
Angus Wilson (p. 255) comments:
... one of the paradoxes about Kipling is that for a man who disliked public appearances and speaking, he put some of his most deeply personal and revealing statements into his speeches. As a result, A Book of Words, that incorporates them, makes splendid reading. His speech to McGill University is no exception. It is his most direct and fierce attack upon materialism.
The Title Page
The collection carries this heading:
And if there be any of them serviceable to a
wayfarer, let him share.
Demeter was the earth goddess of the Greeks, equivalent to Ceres in Roman mythology. This is an adaptation by Kipling of a dedicatory epigram by Diodoros Zonas (perhaps born 125 BC) in the Greek Anthology (VI.98), translated by William Roger Paton (1857-1921) and published by William Heinemann in the Loeb Classical Library. Kipling has taken the name of ‘Heronax’ to refer to himself as writer:
To Demeter the Winnower and the Seasons that tread in the furrows
(click on the number
for the text of the speech)
©Leonee Ormond 2011 All rights reserved