Download Rudyard Kipling: A Literary Life by Phillip Mallett (auth.) PDF

By Phillip Mallett (auth.)

Rudyard Kipling has been some of the most enjoyed and the main loathed of English writers. Rudyard Kipling: A Literary existence is a learn of the forces and impacts that formed his paintings - together with his strange relatives history, his position because the laureate of Empire, and the deaths of 2 of his teenagers - and of his advanced family with a literary global that first embraced after which rejected him, yet may perhaps by no means forget about him.

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Kipling had read his Ruskin, and he had a painter’s eye for light and colour. The central episode in the series is the Englishman’s visit to the ruined city of Chitor (Letters X and XI). As he climbs the Tower of Victory, built by Kumbha Rana in the fifteenth century, he finds himself growing uneasy at the sense of ‘close-packed horrors’ and ancient treacheries, of walls ‘worn smooth by naked men’, and of the ‘shadowland of lewd monstrosities’ suggested by the Hindu carvings. Then, clambering down steps cut out of the rock, he slips, and comes to the edge of ‘a dull blue tank, sunk between walls of timeless masonry’: 36 Rudyard Kipling: A Literary Life In a slabbed-in recess, water was pouring through a shapeless stone gargoyle, into a trough; which trough again dripped into the tank.

The relation between the two suggests in miniature a familiar view of that between the Anglo-Indian and the Indian communities. The narrator has no wish to destroy the child’s handiwork, yet his tolerance of it, as after all ‘only the play of a baby’, mimics conventional Anglo-Indian views of Indian art and architecture, as his 34 Rudyard Kipling: A Literary Life patronage of this play, by dropping ‘a gaily-spotted sea-shell’ for Muhammad to use, echoes the conviction that Anglo-Indians could guide native Indians to a better understanding of their own culture – as indeed the Curator of the Wonder-House at Lahore, modelled on Lockwood Kipling, helps the Lama in Kim.

30 To take part in the imperial adventure was to lay claim to personal and racial integrity, but in a number of stories from the 1880s to the outbreak of the Great War – Rider Haggard’s She, Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Wells’s The War of the Worlds – what is at issue is the threat of individual regression, or worse, of a national descent into barbarism. In its revised form, ‘The Phantom Rickshaw’ opens with an account of the ‘Knowability’ of Anglo-India, where every one knows and is known by every one else.

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