Kipling again

I’m excited to be attending the Kipling in the News conference in London early in September. This was first announced ages ago, and originally set to happen in September 2020, and then postponed a year, because of the miserable circumstances in which we live. I shall be there at the City University in person, but […]

William John Chapman

Dear Jane,Thank you for your kind offer to find details of William Chapman’s naval career. I have now done some basic research, but I wonder whether you would be able to cast some light on the documents that I have discovered. William John Chapman, my great-grandfather, was born in 1846, in Plymouth, which may suggest […]

Kipling does not mince his words

Ever since the sentimental film My Boy Jack, a myth has grown that his son’s death at Loos made Rudyard Kipling less warlike, more pacific. The evidence mostly points the other way. Kipling was tremendously affected by John’s death, of course, but in ways that made him even more committed to the war effort, more […]

Influenza advice

In view of the current crisis, I thought it might be helpful to share this advice from the Daily Mail of February 24, 1919:

A Kipling paper

I’ve just uploaded ‘Kipling’s Military Utopia’, another of my old conference papers. This one was for a conference on Utopias a few years ago, and it considers the slightly odd sort-of-Utopia that Kipling created in ‘The Army of a Dream’, a story serialised in the Morning Post in 1904. Kipling imagines a future Britain in […]

H.G. Wells and the ‘shot at dawn’ theme

H.G. Wells’s The Bulpington of Blup (1932) is one of those novels that creates an unsatisfactory human being as its protagonist, and then uses the war to prove his unsatisfactoriness beyond any doubt. In this case the hero’s faults come close to getting him shot at dawn. Theodore Bulpington (the cumbersome polysyllables of the name […]

Sheila Kaye-Smith and the Middlebrow reader

In her 1916 study of John Galsworthy, Sheila Kaye-Smith writes perceptively about the audience for which he was writing. She first defines what she calls the mob-public: The spread of education, with other causes, has brought into being a mob-public, and the approved of the mob-public have a popularity which could hardly have been conceived […]

Kipling advertises War Bonds

I spent a pleasant day in the British Library at Boston Spa yesterday, looking at copies of the Star evening newspaper for 1918. Among the things that caught my eye was this advertisement for War Bonds, featuring Kipling at his most rhetorically fierce. I’ve read quite a bit of war propaganda over the years, but […]

Kipling and the Great War

A very useful article on Kipling and the War has been posted on the Kipling Society’s website: http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/rg_greatwar.htm In the article, Rodney Atwood follows kipling’s actions and writing through the war years in considerable detail, dispelling some of the myths that have accrued because of popular treatments like My Boy Jack. By the way, I […]

Kipling the pacifist?

Poems often take on new lives and different identities once they get away from the poet, but Rudyard Kipling might have been rather interested, and maybe even amused, by the annexation of his work by pacifists. Here is an article from the Camden New Journal last week: