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Kipling Sahib: India and the Making of Rudyard Kipling (2007)

af Charles Allen

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931227,407 (3.95)7
Charles Allen traces the Indian experiences of Kipling's parents, Lockwood and Alice, and reveals what kind of culture the young writer was born into and then returned to when still a teenager.
  1. 00
    A Circle of Sisters: Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne Jones, Agnes Poynter, and Louisa Baldwin af Judith Flanders (Anonym bruger)
  2. 00
    Plain Tales from the Raj af Charles Allen (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: Charles Allen interviewed actual surving members of Kipling's Raj for a BBC series and in Plain Tales it is their voices we hear.
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In the Preface of Kipling Sahib: India and the Making of Rudyard Kipling author Charles Allen mentions how very obsessive Kipling was about his privacy and the lengths to which he went (demanding letters from old correspondents, burning them and his old notebooks, etc.) to protect it. I felt a qualm about reading on; if he was so determined to protect his personal life, was it somehow disrespectful to read about it? I decided to persevere, and I’m glad I did.

Focusing on Kipling’s life until age thirty-five (when Kim was published), the greatest strength of Allen’s work is the placement of Kipling’s poems, short stories, and eventually books into the context of his life. Allen lays the groundwork of Kipling’s parents’ meeting, his birth and early years in India, his schoolboy days in England and finally his return to India. Allen then is able to correlate Kipling’s progress as a journalist, his family life and his travels with his published works. Fortunately, Allen does not assume a thorough knowledge of Kipling’s works, but describes and quotes from them enough to ensure that the reader understands how they relate to Kipling’s development.

There are fascinating tidbits throughout the book. Kipling’s mother Alice McDonald, was one of four sisters, daughters of a Methodist clergyman. Amazingly, all four sisters married men and/or produced sons who were quite famous in their own fields (I’ll be reading Circle of Sisters about the four sister soon). The descriptions of the summer social whirl in Simla are captivating and I was intrigued to learn that Kipling, a man of few intimate friends, became a close friend to writer H. Rider Haggard.

Having read Kipling Sahib I will go back and reread his works bolstered by a new understanding of their author. Highly recommended.
1 stem Dejah_Thoris | Jun 7, 2011 |
A sensitive study of Kipling's Bombay childhood and lifelong interest in India, Kipling Sahib presents the author in a much more forgiving light.
tilføjet af souloftherose | RedigerThe Guardian, Ian Pindar (Sep 20, 2008)
 
Allen's Kipling Sahib is an excellent, immensely readable, strikingly illustrated introduction to this lost complexity.
 
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Charles Allen traces the Indian experiences of Kipling's parents, Lockwood and Alice, and reveals what kind of culture the young writer was born into and then returned to when still a teenager.

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