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Essays on Rudyard Kipling
Editor: Jan Montefiore

This book is a collection of essays on Rudyard Kipling and brings historical, literary critical and postcolonial approaches to this perennially controversial writer. The first and fairest thing to say about Kipling is that he has borne a brilliant part in recovering the lost provinces of poetry. Kipling's morality is the morality of someone who has to prove that God is not responsible for part of the world, and that the Devil is. Kipling's imperialist opinions became more strident after the Boer War he lost the esteem of British literary intellectuals, whom he in turn despised. The book addresses Kipling's approach to the Boer war, his involvement with World War One, his Englishness and the politics of literary quotation. It demonstrates the effects of a Kipling-conditioned world on Edward Thomas, Ivor Gurney and David Jones. The book focuses on Kipling's collection of stories and accompanying poems, Actions and Reactions, which was published in October 1909. It also probes the historical subtext of the children's fable Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Indian history, Kipling's search for God, and his longest Indian experience of footloose travel in the Native states of North India. Stalky & Co is the text of Kipling's which features the largest number of quotations. Kipling's notion of the ideally masculine 'army man' in relation to contemporary late Victorian discourses and practices of same-sex passion is analyzed. The book also addresses Kipling's views on the question of fascism, anti-Semitism and the 'doctrine of racial superiority'.