Rudyard Kipling letter suggests he plagiarized parts of "The Jungle Book"

19th century writer admits that he took "promiscuously" from other sources when penning "The Law of the Jungle"

Published May 28, 2013 5:19PM (EDT)


An 1895 letter from writer Rudyard Kipling reveals that the Nobel Prize-winning author may have plagiarized parts of "The Law of the Jungle," a poem in one of his most notable works, "The Jungle Book."

The Telegraph reports:

The letter, addressed to an unknown woman, reads: “I have been absent from home for some days. Hence the delay in answering yours of no date, in regard to my account of the Law of the Jungle.

"I am afraid that all that code in its outlines has been manufactured to meet 'the necessities of the case': though a little of it is bodily taken from (Southern) Esquimaux rules for the division of spoils.

"In fact, it is extremely possible that I have helped myself promiscuously but at present cannot remember from whose stories I have stolen.

“Very sincerely, Rudyard Kipling."

The letter will go on auction by Andrusier Autographs for £2,500, which translates to about $3,700.

By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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Books Literature Rudyard Kipling Short Story The Jungle Book Writing