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Lisa Lewis

9 Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Indian history Lisa Lewis ‘Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’, the story that made me a lifelong Kipling enthusiast, is a story of multi-layered meanings. As an animal fable it is accessible to young children like me as a very small girl suffering from terrifying nightmares, to whom a kind aunt read a wonderful story about a strange little animal called a mongoose, who would sit on a child’s bed and keep watch, ready to kill the wicked creatures that lurked in the shadows after the light was turned off. But it is not only a comforting tale of a protecting

in In Time’s eye
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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'.

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Jan Montefiore

the repeated motifs of home and homecoming, his close reading of the book’s opening and closing stories ‘An Habitation Enforced’ and ‘The House Surgeon’ (which unlike Bryan Cheyette he finds humanely free of anti-Semitism) interprets the two stories of the regeneration of two English country houses, a beautiful near-ruin and a modern villa, as a dialogue, the ironies generated by their contrasts and parallels producing not an idealized England but a ‘contest . . . between two kinds of inauthenticity’. Lisa Lewis in ‘Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Indian history’, the first of

in In Time’s eye
Dan Jacobson

several yards of stonework had been composed by Rudyard Kipling, at Rhodes’ request. The names of both these men had been familiar to me almost as far back as I could remember. In Kimberley – then still a ‘company town’ dominated by the De Beers Consolidated Mines – Rhodes continued to be regarded as a kind of demi-god; Kipling I knew chiefly as the author of ‘Rikki Tikki Tavi’, a story about a mongoose battling cobras in an Indian garden, which, like an addict, I had read and reread at frequent intervals over many years. But I knew nothing of the close friendship that

in In Time’s eye
Public spectacles and plebeian expertise, 1840–80
Peter Hobbins

… it will scamper off in search of some (unknown!) herb, and, eating it, become poison-proof’. 28 In 1894 Rudyard Kipling still felt obliged to discredit this enduring trope in ‘Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’. Snakebite antidotes founded upon the silent testimony of goannas likewise sustained a reliable customer base. As late as 1913 the New South Wales Microbiological Laboratory reluctantly agreed to test such

in Venomous encounters