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Kipling in India


Rudyard Kipling at 26, three years after he published Plain Tales from the Hills
Image: Rex USA/Everett Collection, 1891 portrait by John Collier

Ever since I read Kipling's Baa Baa Black Sheep, and closed his story unable to see for tears, I have known Kipling was a writer for the ages and a writer for me.

Today in the Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Lowry reviews a new biography, Kipling Sahib. The book focuses on Kipling in India, and appears to fall short in one important way.

But Elizabeth leaves me wanting to read all of Kipling - his "small miracles of compression" in Plain Tales, which subtly satirize and extol the Anglo-Indian experience, his "puzzle" stories, the mature works which deal head-on "with the most pressing concerns of the modern age" and his ghost story They.

Comments (1)

Yes! Well done you. He is glorious, well beyond the best-known works. Last year I bought the Folio Society's five-volume boxed set of his short stories, and am now somewhere in Volume Four. They accompany my dram of Usquebaugh at the end of the afternoon, in front of the fire. I am increasingly impressed and enchanted by K's exploration of demotic and artisanal language. And by his timeless and elegant descriptions of British India. Vivat Rudyardus!

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