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Selected Stories (Penguin Modern Classics) Kindle Edition
|Length: 533 pages|
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Kipling gets some bad press because of some of his writing (most of it contemporary journalistic artcles) that seem to be a sideways adulation of imperialism. Ironic because if any person ever wanted an introduction to the dissillusion of imperialism, the corrosive influence it has on human relations, then Kipling offers the best samples. The poignant and heartwrenching tale of mixed marriage in "Without Benefit of Clergy" is something that stands out. Moods of loss as a result of WWI comes through in "The Gardener" and in what I think is some of the most intriguing prose is the fate of locals set in cicumstances where they clearly should not be... Kipling has an uncanny ability to describe female emotions which positively are really only akin to Katherine Mansfield "A Wayside Comedy."
There is also the dangers of getting lost in the land and the way that the land will always reclaim itself no matter what the power or the depredations of the white sahibs -- "The Man Who Would be King."
There are the course revelries of the working-class infantry blokes, their inability to understand the place, their irreverence of the locals and the prisons of their ignorance. My favourite "The Miracle of Purun Baghat", a tale of a former Princely dependence leader who, at the top of his career leaves it all to lead the life of extreme astheticism as a Sadhu and becomes a God.
There is a lot here to ponder and keep you company. Jingoism is about the furthest thing from one's mind when reading Kipling -- an extreme melancholy and pathos -- undoubtedly.
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