‘A race to leave alone’
Kipling and the Jews
in In Time’s eye
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The Origins of Totalitarianism was the first account of the links between the racism and dehumanisation of empire and of fascism, with Rudyard Kipling, in the guise of The Imperialist Character, prefiguring the criss-crossing histories. Kipling was to confront pro-Boer public opinion in Traffics and Discoveries and challenged the liberal or socialist version of 'the Jew'. Kipling's earliest representations of 'the Jew' or 'Jew boy' veer between the supposed philo-Semitic 'Anglo-American-German-Jew' of the future and his supposed anti-Semitic mirror-image, the 'American-German-Jew boy'. A teleological reading flattens out the past in the name of present post-Holocaust preoccupations. Salman Rushdie, in an essay on Kipling, highlights 'On the City Wall' as a key instance of Kipling's veracity with regard to pre-Independence India. 'For One Night Only', published a few years after Kipling's Indian stories, unleashes many of the dark, primitive forces that have been characterised as 'the abyss' in Kipling's work.

In Time’s eye

Essays on Rudyard Kipling

Editor: Jan Montefiore

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