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Being Kipling by William B. Dillingham


Being Kipling by William B. Dillingham

Being Kipling exposes Rudyard Kipling s identity as he himself perceived it through the lens of a collection of works composed over a period of years and brought together in the volume Land and Sea Tales for Scouts and Guides. Dillingham uses this extraordinary collection, ostensibly put together for the inspiration of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides and frequently ignored by critics and biographers, to offer rare insight into formative events from Kipling s youth that shaped his personality and made him the man and writer that he became. The eight stories, eight poems, and three essays of Land and Sea Tales for Scouts and Guides are all examined closely both for what they reveal about Kipling s life and worldview and for their rarely perceived, but considerable literary merit.


CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title for 2009

'Taking the stories and poems of one of Kipling's most neglected and undervalued books as his point of departure, Dillingham leads the reader through many places, familiar and unfamiliar in Kipling territory, often ending up in strange and unexpected places. Above all, Dillingham sees Kipling in a fresh and persuasive way, and what he discovers is the result of a broad, deep, and sympathetic knowledge of Kipling's work, unhampered by the prejudices and cliches of the critical tradition.' - Thomas Pinney, editor of The Letters of Rudyard Kipling

'Being Kipling is not a literary critique of these stories but an exploration of their relationships to Kipling's experiences and the lessons that he learned thereby. Dillingham shows that the selections in Land and Sea Tales for Scouts and Guides are all about the personal discoveries which lead to the making of a man and, in Kipling's case, an author .Dillingham demonstrates that there is a consistent and coherent message running through the underrated Land and Sea Tales for Scouts and Guides. It is a pleasure to read and his conclusions cannot be faulted.' - David Page, Editor, Kipling Journal

'Dillingham's book is a carefully documented and thoughtful celebration of 'The Good Kipling' . . . truly original.' - David Stewart, Professor Emeritus of English, Texas A&M University

'There is freshness and clarity in Prof Dillingham's very convincing exposition.' - The Kipling Journal

About the Author

WILLIAM B. DILLINGHAM is Charles Howard Candler Professor, Emeritus, Emory University. He is the author of Rudyard Kipling: Hell and Heroism, four books on Herman Melville, and a critical study of the literary naturalist Frank Norris. He is editor, with Hennig Cohen, of Humor of the Old Southwest and co-author of the widely used Practical English Handbook.

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Book Info

Publication date

20th October 2008


William B. Dillingham

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Palgrave Macmillan


238 pages


Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers
Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900



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