Souvenirs of France

(notes by Max Rives)


Two articles, published in Paris in Revue des Deux Mondes on the 1st and 15 March, 1933, were the first publication of what came to be quite a famous little book in French and also in English. Apparently, it was translated from the English into French, although (as the ORG Editor had been assured ) it reads as if it originated in French.

However, in the French Revue there is a note: ‘Translated by M. Louis Gillet’ and a prefatory note by the Editor of the Revue explaining the purpose of the articles :

… they tell of the various events of the writer’s life which have brought him into close intimacy with France and the French people, so making him “a most sincere and warm friend.”

In the recent (1989) edition of collected translations in French of Kipling’s works in the Collection “Bouquin”, a note accompanies Souvenirs of France: ‘Traduit de l’anglais par Louis Gillet © Héritiers de Louis Gillet pour la traduction française.’

When the booklet appeared in Paris, it quickly ran into five editions. In England, the articles first appeared in the Daily Telegraph, on the following days of March, 1933 : 13th to 22nd, with the exception of 18th and 19th. Only there did they include headings. The booklet appeared in the same year in two parts, but without headings or sub-headings. One must say that the headings, as they appear in the ORG, are typical of the type of headings imagined by newspaper editors ; it is often difficult to relate them to the text; we have therefoe omitted them from these notes.

The book is collected in the Edition de Luxe vol 38 (together with Something of Myself), Scribner’s Edition vol 34, Burwash Edition vol 24, Sussex Edition vol 31, and in the Macmillan Pocket Edition in 1933, now being used for the present notes.

Critical responses

The reviews were eulogistic, as can be seen in KJ 27/71 and 74-76; and KJ 31/96; also KJ 85, 89, & 130.

©Max Rives 2008 All rights reserved