Rudyard Kipling

BookRudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

Writers and Their Work


January 1st, 2008



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Rudyard Kipling was a Victorian and an early modernist, a disciplinarian imperialist who sympathised with children and outlaws, a globe-trotter who mythologised ‘Old England’, and a world-famous author whom intellectuals despised. The central theme of this book is the way his work and its reception are both fissured and energised by these contradictions. This thorough study initially discusses Kipling’s ambivalent knowing attitude to unknowable otherness, his rhetorical imitations of Indian and demotic vernaculars, his work ethic and ideal of imperialist masculinity, thus contextualising the central discussion of his masterpiece Kim which, almost uniquely, takes Indian otherness as a source of pleasure not anxiety. Jan Montefiore describes Kipling as a writer on the cusp of modernity, examining how his fiction and poetry engaged with radio, cinema and air travel, how his poetry anticipated and influenced the subversive uncertainties of modernism, and how his post-war contributions to the literature of mourning undermined their own overt traditionalism.

Author Information

Jan Montefiore teaches English Literature at the University of Kent. Publications include: Men and Women Writers of the 1930s: The Dangerous Flood of History, Routledge (1996) and Arguments of Heart and Mind: Selected Essays 1977-2000, Manchester University Press (2002).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Half Title2
Title Page4
Biographical Outline10
A divided writer16
Divided readers25
1 Kipling in India: Knowing the Unknowable32
The knowing writer32
The unknowable abyss38
2 Imagining a Language: Kipling’s Vernaculars47
Indian vernaculars: familiarizing the foreign47
Demotic vernacular57
3 The Day’s Work63
Kipling and the poetry of work63
The night when no man can work74
4 Being a Man80
Animal versus man92
5 Kim96
A colonial fiction96
An Indian paradise110
6 Kipling’s Poetry: Victorian to Modernist: ‘He Do The Police In Different Voices’119
Ambiguous conservatism119
Kipling’s modernism128
7 Communications, Modernity and Power138
Kipling and machinery138
Machines and ghosts148
8 Kipling in the Great War: Mourning and Modernity158
Mourning and tradition158
Grieving and modernity166
9 Epilogue: The Final Years175
Select Bibliography192