Bateman’s


In Sussex last week, I took the chance of visiting Bateman’s, Kipling’s home near Burwash. It’s a splendid house, and Kipling’s study is especially worth seeing, with its crowded bookshelves and the large table (by a big window looking out onto the grounds and the spread of unspoilt Sussex) at which he wrote in longhand. The  secretary’s typewriter is  perched at the end of the table.
What struck me most was that Kipling had made enough money to create this vision of Englishness purely by the use of his pen. After about sixteen years of writing, he returned to England in 1902 rich enough to spend the then very sizeable sum of £9000 on the house and the surrounding 33 acres, and to complete it with period furniture, of a quality that seems remarkable. The whole effect is of timeless Englishness (plus a few Oriental touches, of course). In 1906 he spent his Nobel Prize money on expanding the land and planting the gardens, which are superb.
Has any writer since then amassed such a fortune so quickly, while at the same time being recognised as a unique an important literary voice?

2 Comments

  1. Posted August 21, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Has any writer since then amassed such a fortune so quickly, while at the same time being recognised as a unique an important literary voice?

    Hmm … 12 years passed between the publication of Orwell’s first book Down and Out in Paris and London and his greatest bestseller Animal Farm, which if it did not bring its author riches on quite the Kipling scale (income tax made sure of that) did make him independently wealthy for the first time.

  2. Posted August 3, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    I visited Bateman’s yesterday and fell in love with the place! I linked to your picture from my blog, hope it is okey.
    /mia


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