Words Project: Roundtable discussion

BRATTLEBORO — "There are only two places in the world where I want to live — Bombay and Brattleboro," author Rudyard Kipling told friend and early Brattleboro chronicler Mary Cabot, "And I can't live at either."

The Brattleboro Words Project will explore Kipling's highly productive but emotionally difficult "American years" at its next Roundtable Discussion on Thursday, July 12, 6 p.m. at Scott Farm Orchard, 707 Kipling Road in Dummerston. The public is invited to attend this free event to learn more about Kipling and the Brattleboro Words Project, a National Endowment for the Humanities backed effort to create podcasts linked to important sites in and around Brattleboro. Refreshments will be served.

Kipling lived with his Brattleboro-born wife Caroline (Carrie) Balestier and raised a family in Dummerston from 1892 to 1896 at `Naulakha,' a house he designed and had built which still stands next door to Scott Farm.

Charles Fish, a professor and writer who has studied Kipling's time in Vermont, will lead the discussion with Kelly Carlin, Operations Manager of Naulakha and Scott Farm Orchard for the Landmark Trust USA and Thomas Ragle, former President of Marlboro College from 1958 to 1981 who was instrumental in establishing Marlboro's distinguished Kipling Collection.

"Rudyard Kipling's American years were the happiest, most inspired and productive time of his life," Professor Fish said, before a dispute with his brother-in-law turned ugly. In this period he composed the two Jungle Books (1894, 1895), the first three Just So Stories (1897), and began thinking about his masterpiece Kim (1901). He also wrote the poems collected in The Seven Seas (1896), the short stories collected in The Day's Work (1898), and much of his classic sea story Captains Courageous (1897).

During a trip to England in 1894, Kipling wrote longingly of  "a bottle of lager in the basement of Brooks House ... There's one Britisher at least homesick for a section of your depraved old land."

"Kipling remains one of the world's most famous authors. Fans come from all over the world to stay at Naulakha, to sit at Kipling's desk," Carlin said, adding that the house is being used increasingly for writers retreats. "The visitor's log book itself is a work of art, people leave poems and drawings inspired by the spirit of the house."

The Roundtable Discussion Series is presented the second Thursday of every month at sites identified as important to the history of words by The Brattleboro Words Project, a multi-year collaboration between the Brattleboro Historical Society, the Brattleboro Literary Festival, Write Action, Brooks Memorial Library and Marlboro College and backed by a National Endowment for the Humanities matching grant. The Project seeks public participation in research, writing and creating a `Brattleboro Words Trail', audio linked to sites of interest, for walking, biking and driving tours of our area, a book on Brattleboro's printing and publishing history, and other events linked to the October Brattleboro Literary Festival and throughout the year. For more information visit brattleborowordsproject.org

Scott Farm Orchard is a 571 acre gem with majestic views bordering the Kipling house. Cider house scenes in the film "Cider House Rules" based on the John Irving book were filmed there. The orchard has evolved to an ecologically managed heirloom apple oasis. The farm was settled in 1791 by Rufus Scott. Ownership then passed to the Holbrook family who planted the orchard in 1915. In 1995, Fred Holbrook gifted the Scott Farm to the Landmark Trust USA, a non-profit whose mission is historic preservation. Landmark Trust also acquired and restored Naulakha, now a National Historic Landmark available for rental by visiting landmarktrustusa.org/properties/rudyard-kiplings-naulakha/

Scott Farm Orchard, 707 Kipling Road in Dummerston.

Words Project Roundtable Discussion on Rudyard Kipling's Vermont Years

`There are only two places in the world where I want to live - Bombay and Brattleboro," author Rudyard Kipling said, "And I can't live at either." The Brattleboro Words Project explores Kipling's highly productive but difficult "American years" at Scott Farm Orchard, which neighbors his `Naulakha' home. Professors Charles Fish / Tom Ragle and Naulakha's Kelly Carlin lead the free talk including refreshments and details on how you can get involved with making podcasts on sites of interest in our storied past for the `Brattleboro Words Trail".


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