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Kipling's Art of Fiction 1884-1901$
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David Sergeant

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199684588

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684588.001.0001

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Fiction in India, 1884–1889

Fiction in India, 1884–1889

Chapter:
(p.12) 2 Fiction in India, 1884–1889
Source:
Kipling's Art of Fiction 1884-1901
Author(s):

David Sergeant

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684588.003.0002

This chapter provides a new account of Kipling’s writing in India, with a particular focus on the fiction up to and including Plain Tales from the Hills. Two clear shifts in the character and technique of this work are discerned: between the first stories and the subsequent Plain Tales, and between the stories written before and after the move to Allahabad. The chapter shows how the formal features of Kipling’s authoritarian narratives reflected his community’s preoccupations and the wider imperial history that informed them. Conversely, complex works like ‘The Story of Muhammad Din’ use similar devices and techniques to the authoritarian works, but to very different ends, demanding empathy and a tolerance of ambiguity from the reader. The chapter concludes with new readings of two key, critically contested texts: ‘The House of Suddhoo’ and ‘On the City Wall’.

Keywords:   Kipling, India, Plain Tales from the Hills, Allahabad, formal, authoritarian, imperial, complex, empathy, ambiguity

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