The Independent Magazine for Freemasons
By: Richard Jaffa
Rudyard Kipling, who in 1907 became the first English writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, was an outstanding and prolific author who requires little further introduction. Whilst his work may be well known, what is less well known is the influence that Freemasonry had on him as a man and on his work.
Richard Jaffa, a former journalist and lawyer but perhaps more important in the context of this book a long-standing and experienced Freemason, has written what appears to be the first definitive book to examine Kipling’s interest in Freemasonry and how it is reflected in his life and work.
There have been books and articles previously published about Kipling’s Masonic connections, but these have for the most part been written by non-Masons, who not surprisingly have missed the many Masonic references and indeed phrases and expressions taken directly from Masonic ritual that are so integral to his writing. This book explores in some detail Kipling’s involvement in the Craft, and how he used that knowledge.
The book includes Kipling’s life history, and in particular the solace he found through Freemasonry following the tragic loss of his six-year-old daughter Josephine who died from pneumonia in 1899 and his only son John who was killed in action in Belgium in 1915.
Richard Jaffa has been meticulous in his research, although I do take issue with his assertion that William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, was a Freemason. The chapter on miscellaneous Masonic references in his writing is most enlightening, as is his examination of Kipling’s Masonic poetry. The book also contains a review of critics and biographers, who have tried to understand Kipling’s interest in Freemasonry, but not always succeeded in doing so.
The book will be well received by anyone with an interest in both the work of Kipling and the world of Freemasonry. It will be of especial interest to those who may have previously read his work without fully appreciating the impact that Freemasonry had on his literary output.
ISBN: 978 1 4567 8134 7