Plain Tales from the Hills, Rudyard Kipling's first collection of short stories, established his reputation and brought India to the British imagination. Including the stories 'Lispeth', 'Beyond the Pale' and 'In the Pride of His Youth', they tell of soldiers, wise children, exiles, forbidden romances and divided identities, creating a rich portrait of Anglo-Indian society. Originally published for a newspaper in Lahore when Kipling was a journalist, the tales were later revised by him to re-create as vividly as possible the sights and smells of India for readers at home. Far from being a celebration of empire, these stories explore the barriers between races, classes and sexes, and convey all the tensions and contradictions of colonial life.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was born in Bombay. During his time at the United Services College, he began to write poetry, privately publishing Schoolboy Lyricsin 1881. The following year he started work as a journalist in India, and while there produced a body of work, stories, sketches, and poems —including “Mandalay,” “Gunga Din,” and “Danny Deever”—which made him an instant literary celebrity when he returned to England in 1889. While living in Vermont with his wife, an American, Kipling wrote The Jungle Books, Just So Stories, and Kim—which became widely regarded as his greatest long work, putting him high among the chronicles of British expansion. Kipling returned to England in 1902, but he continued to travel widely and write, though he never enjoyed the literary esteem of his early years. In 1907, he became the first British writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize.
Jan Montefiore is a professor of 20th Century English Literature at the University of Kent. She is the author of Men and Women Writers of the 1930s (1996);Arguments of Heart and Mind:Selected Essays 1977-2000 (2002); Feminism and Poetry (3rd edition, 2004); and Rudyard Kipling (2007).
Kaori Nagai is a Research Associate at the University of Kent and author of Empire of Analogies (2006).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"When a man begins to sink in India, and is not sent Home by his friends as soon as may be, he falls very low from a respectable point of view." To demonstrate the truth of that sentiment is the task of a short story called "To Be FIled For Reference." It appears as 40th and last of PLAIN TALES FROM THE HILLS, published in book form in 1888 by 22-year old Rudyard Kipling. The narrator, meant very likely to be Kipling himself, runs across 35-year old loafer and drunkard Briton MacIntosh Jellaludin. *** A learned product of Oxford University, and drunken babbler in classical Greek and German, McIntosh spends his nights in a native flat just off the ancient Sultan Caravanserai. He looks more 50 than 35. McIntosh has lived affectionately with a native woman for the past three years. He tells his narrator friend: "I require neither your money, your food, nor your cast-off raiment. I am that rare animal, a self-supporting drunkard." *** Dying of pneumonia McIntosh Jellaludin passes reverently to his only English friend a massive manuscript containing all his wisdom. "The papers were in a hopeless muddle." *** In another PLAIN TALE, Gabral Misquitta, a half-caste friend of Kipling, tells how five years ago he became addicted to opium smoking, after first experimenting with Black Smoke at his home in Calcutta. An old Chinaman, Fung-Tching, collects Misquitta's inheritance from an aunt, 30 rupees per month, and for that gives Misquitta good opium to smoke, sufficient food to eat and a place to sleep in colorful quarters. *** Misquitta told Kipling: "I should like to die ... on a clean, cool mat and with a cool pipe of good stuff between my lips." *** In "The Taking of Lungtungpen," Kipling's great chum, Private Terence Mulvaney, an Irishman, recalls how he inspired young Lieutenant Brazenose and 24 raw recruits to swim the Irrawaddy river and capture the bandit-ridden town of Lungtungpen. This the British do storming in stark naked (their clothes having been kept dry on tree trunks pushed across the stream) against their almost completely surprised enemies. The town's Headman asked later (as phrased in Mulvaney's Irish English: "'Av the English fight like that wid their clo'es off, what in the wurruld do they do with their clo'es on?'" To Mulvaney the answer is clear enough: "'They tuk Lungtunpen nakid; an' they'd take St. Petherburg in their dhrawers! Begad, they would that!'" *** And so they go: 40 PLAIN TALES FROM THE HILLS. These are stories of a relative handful of English, Scots and other Britons ruling, as the Paramount Power in India, millions of Hindu, Muslim and other subjects, speaking dozens of major languages. These men are bored, their health is often shattered, they drink too much, they fall in love with the wrong women. And very young Rudyard Kipling watched them do it. PLAIN TALES FROM THE HILLS: a brilliant early work by a future Nobel Prize winner. -OOO-