The story of the man-cub Mowgli who is raised by wolves in the Indian jungle, guided by his mentors Baloo the bear, Bagheera the black panther and the ancient python Kaa, and who confronts his arch-enemy Shere Khan the tiger, is one of the greatest literary myths ever created. Mowgli's adventures are juxtaposed with other animal stories set in the British Empire, ranging from the heroic battle of 'Rikki-tikki-tavi' and the Himalayan pastoral 'Purun Bhagat' to the drama of survival in 'The White Seal'. With The Jungle Books Rudyard Kipling drew on ancient beast fables, Buddhist philosophy and memories of his Anglo-Indian upbringing to create a rich, symbolic portrait of man and nature, and an eternal classic of childhood that has had a lasting impact on our imaginations.
Part of a series of new editions of Kipling's works in Penguin Classics, this volume contains a General Preface by Jan Montefiore and an introduction by Kaori Nagai discussing the many imperial, Indian and literary contexts of The Jungle Books.
Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay in 1865. In 1882 Kipling started work as a journalist in India, and while there produced a body of work, stories, sketches and poems - notably Plain Tales from the Hills (1888) - which made him an instant literary celebrity when he returned to England in 1889. His most famous works include The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901) and the Just So Stories (1902). Kipling refused to accept the role of Poet Laureate and other civil honours, but he was the first English writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize, in 1907. He died in 1936. Jan Montefiore has taught at the University of Kent since 1978, where she is now Professor of 20th Century English Literature. She is the author of Men and Women Writers of the 1930s (1996); Arguments of Heart and Mind:Selected Essays 1977-2000 (2002); Feminism and Poetry (3rd edition, 2004); and Rudyard Kipling (2007). Kaori Nagai is a Research Associate at the University of Kent and author of Empire of Analogies (2006). She has also introduced Kobo Abe's Face of Another and Kipling's Plain Tales from the Hills for Penguin.