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Explorations Read-Aloud: “The Light That Failed” by Rudyard Kipling

Friday, December 2, 2022 @ 11:00 am 12:00 pm

Every Friday, at 11:00 am, on the library’s YouTube Channel and Facebook Page, the library will stream a brand new recording of local thespian, Joseph Coté reading aloud selections from a wide variety of fascinating and entertaining books of fiction and non-fiction. This is a program to help keep our community connected to books during the pandemic when we are unable to meet in person.

For December 2, Coté will read aloud from Rudyard Kipling’s novel The Light That Failed.

Summary: The Light That Failed is the first novel by the Nobel Prize-winning English author Rudyard Kipling, first published in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine in January 1891. Most of the novel is set in London, but many important events throughout the story occur in Sudan and Port Said. It follows the life of Dick Heldar, an artist and painter who goes blind, and his unrequited love for his childhood playmate, Maisie.

Kipling wrote the novel when he was 26 years old, and it is semi-autobiographical, being based upon his own unrequited love for Florence Garrard. Though it was poorly received by critics, the novel has managed to remain in print for over a century. It was also adapted into a play, two silent films and a drama film.

By the time Kipling returned to England in 1889, he was well on this way to literary fame due to his successful short stories. However, as a novel was expected from him, he began to write The Light That Failed on a very short deadline of three months.

The novel’s inspiration was his failed relationship with Florence Garrard, whom he had first met when he was being fostered with his sister in Southsea. Kipling remained in touch with Garrard after returning to India to work as a reporter, corresponding with her over letters. She later terminated their relationship after two years, leaving Kipling devastated as he had believed himself engaged to her.

He met her again in 1890 in London and attempted to reignite their relationship. He also visited her in Paris where she was studying in the Académie Julian. It is not known what transpired between them except that he would never see Garrard again. While most of the novel is set in London, the military campaigns are set in Sudan and Egypt, especially in Port Said and Suakin.

Click the links to find the library’s YouTube Channel and Facebook Page.

Thoughts to share? Book ideas to suggest?
Contact Joseph at friday-explorations@usa.net

55 Main Street
Camden, ME 04843 United States