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Kipling Sahib: India and the Making of Rudyard Kipling 1865-1900 Hardcover – 1 Nov 2007
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'A delightful evocation of late 19th century India and an acute study of Kipling's genius: utterly absorbing.'
'Allen has done his subject proud with a biography of great sensitivity, insight and rare charm' -- MAIL ON SUNDAY
'Allen's KIPLING SAHIB is an excellent, immensely readable, strikingly illustrated introduction to this lost complexity' -- INDEPENDENT
'Allen's Kipling is certainly engaging - complex, truculent, rash and frank to the point of social suicide . . . excellent' -- SUNDAY TIMES
'Charles Allen's book ... should help to restore [Kipling] to his rightful place in the literary pantheon' -- LITERARY REVIEW
'[Allen provides] a wealth of background detail all the stronger for the author having himself spent an Anglo-Indian childhood'
'[KIPLING SAHIB] extends our knowledge, and deepens our undertanding, of the greatest English writer of his generation' -- Allan Massie, TELEGRAPH
'delicious detail and an unfailing command of [the] material' -- Ferdinand Mount, SPECTATOR
[A] compelling portrait of Kipling set against the background of India... a vibrant picture of the white and brown worlds explored and mapped by his inky, balding, bespectacled, moustached and fiercely cleft-chinned hero.
-- The Literary Review
`KIPLING SAHIB is the best book on its subject, and on British India, for years'
-- SUNDAY HERALD
A long overdue reassessment of Kipling in India by a leading historian of the subcontinent, author of PLAIN TALES FROM THE RAJ and SOLDIER SAHIBS --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Today Kipling can appear an austere figure, a handle-bar moustached Imperialist advocate, with ideas on race beyond the pale of polite society. But Allen shows the young Kipling ("Ruddy") to be so much more interesting and sympathetic than the stereotype suggests.
Allen is excellent on Ruddy's early life in Bombay, his unloved years in Southsea away from his parents, his return to India and work there as a journalist, his development as a writer and return to England to become a literary superstar.
Ruddy trod new ground among writers: for example, he was the first to give a voice to the men rather than the officers in the British army. In India he talked to everyone: from Vieroys to the most downtrodden and his empathy for misfits, outsiders and slackers gave his fiction its wondrous colour and detail.
For me the most surprising elements of Kipling's life include his nocturnal explorings of native India, his visits to Lahore courtesans, his experiences with opium and his depressions. The older Kipling did much to obscure Ruddy's antics from future generations. But Allen is superb at uncovering Ruddy's secrets and they make him so much more of a sympathetic and modern man than I had previously believed.
I have not read any of Kipling's prose since my teenage years when I struggled through the Second Jungle Book. But this book has re-awakened my interest and I shall shortly be reading Kim, which Allen considers Kipling's masterpiece.
Read this book if you are interested in learning more about what made Kipling tick, whether you have got into his works yet or not. Also read this book if you are interested in the Raj. Allen makes this far-away world come alive.
A fascinating character, unfashionable for partly justifiable reasons - yes, he was a reactionary; you can't revise that away - but also a complicated, interesting man who had real affinity for aspects of Indian culture.
Can't wait to start reading the early stories...
As one who lived in British India over 60 years ago, I found this book to be absolutely fascinating and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in India.
I had no idea Kipling was such a precocious, bumptious and opinionated young man. How he matured so young! And of course that terrible time in the Southsea foster home. He was also quite a lad, seemingly with all kinds of dalliances, especially in Simla. It all goes to explain how he could write a poem like "The Ladies".
Incredible how he developed such a deep understanding of the East. Breaking convention and wandering the streets of the native cities by night and making all kinds of unconventional acquaintances and soaking up novel experiences. That was the local color so wonderfully exemplified by his novel Kim Kim (Penguin Classics), and his Ballad of East and West.
Kipling also did something that no Sahib had done before: talk to the ordinary Tommy in the barracks and absorb all the terrible privations they suffered. That is how he could write a short story like "The Drums of the Fore and the Aft" in The Man Who Would be King: and Other Stories(Oxford World's Classics) and searing poems like Danny Deever Collected Verse of Rudyard Kipling.
Charles Allen only sounds one false note when, seemingly as a a sop to the politically correct, he is unnecessarily apologetic about Kipling and his time. Quite uncalled for! Kipling's works display a wonderful understanding and sympathy for humanity in general. How lucky we are to have his works as an insightful record of the British Raj.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just what I wanted. Arrived promptly and well packed. ThanksPublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
EXCELLENT well written book by the people that knew him and knew his real story in India, a fascinating read.Published 14 months ago by Jay Dee
I BOUGHT THIS BOOK ON THE BACK OF A REALLY INTERESTING TV PROGRAMME ABOUT KIPLING WHICH MENTIONED THIS AUTHOR. Read morePublished 15 months ago by PAUL KEMP
My husband is off to India and touring Kipling country so it was of great usePublished 22 months ago by DBrown
one of the best biographies of Kipling I have read so far.Published on 10 Jan. 2015 by Marie-Hélène Allanson