Traces the life of the British novelist, examines his complex personality, and discusses the influences on his work
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Seymour-Smith suggests that previous biographies, like C.E. Carrington's Rudyard Kipling: His Life and Work (1955; 1978. rev. ed.) and Lord Birkenhead's Rudyard Kipling (1978) have been censored by Mrs. George Bambridge, Kipling's daughter, who held control over all crucial material to protect her parents' reputation. He asserts here that Kipling married Caroline Balestier to satisfy vicariously his homosexual longings for Caroline's brother and Kipling's friend, Wolcott Balestier. Ruddy, the willful and self-assertive little boy, completely acquiesced as an adult to the domination of a shrewish wife because she knew his secret (and kept it). This thesis, interesting as it is, seems a bit too easy and suffers from rampant speculation and unchecked Freudianizing.
- Donald P. Kaczvinsky, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
British critic Seymour-Smith maintains that Kipling (1865-1936) was a repressed homosexual who feared his sadomasochistic and other erotic impulses. The author goes through contortions in attempting to bend the scanty biographical evidence to fit his thesis. He probes Kipling's marriage to "gloomy dragon" Caroline Balestier, arguing that he was really in love with her brother Wolcott. Published in Britain to much controversy, this study portrays Kipling as a morbidly secretive self-hater who, at his best, rose above his mean-spririted imperialist politics through his writings. Seymour-Smith, who champions Kipling as a major talent, offers close readings of neglected stories as well as of the novels and children's books. He claims that when Kipling's imagination was working at full throttle he was "positively Shakespearean." Photos.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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