Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 316



Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.

Page 316

to keep clear of ‘personal’ things as much as possible.” [figure]

It was on Bok’s fiftieth birthday that Kipling sent him a copy of “If.” Bok had greatly admired this poem, but knowing Kipling’s distaste for writing out his own work, he had resisted the strong desire to ask him for a copy of it. It is significant of the author’s remarkable memory that he wrote it, as he said, “from memory,” years after its publication, and yet a comparison of the copy with the printed form, corrected by Kipling, fails to discover the difference of a single word.

The lecture bureaus now desired that Edward Bok should go on the platform. Bok had never appeared in the role of a lecturer, but he reasoned that through the medium of the rostrum he might come in closer contact with the American public, meet his readers personally, and secure some first-hand constructive criticism of his work. This last he was always encouraging. It was a naïve conception of a lecture tour, but Bok believed it and he contracted for a tour beginning at Richmond, Virginia, and continuing through the South and Southwest as far as Saint Joseph, Missouri, and then back home by way of the Middle West.

Large audiences greeted him wherever he went, but he had not gone far on his tour when he realized that he was not getting what he thought he would. There was much entertaining and lionizing, but nothing to help him in his work by pointing out to him where he could better it. He shrank from the pitiless publicity that was inevitable; he became more and more self-conscious



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