Saturday, 12 April 2014

K is for Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was an English writer and novelist who in 1907 became the first English language writer to be awarded the Nobel prize for literature. Probably in part due to the popularity of the Just So Stories and the association of  The Jungle Book with cub scouting, Kipling is best known for his children's stories. Hence it may seem surprising to discover that Kipling also wrote a significant number of tales of the supernatural, hence the choice of 'K for Kipling' with respect to our current callout. Previously one of the most popular writers in England, his writings have fallen out of vogue in recent years due to the imperialist tone of his work.

The Phantom Rickshaw (1885) is one of Kipling's best known ghost stories and was written for publication at Christmas following the trend established by Charles Dickens and subsequently followed by M. R. James. This tale manages to merge Gothic fiction with a ghostly element all set in nineteenth century India. The choice of first person point of view helps to intensify the threat and terror posed by spiritual manifestations of the phantom rickshaw and serves to highlight the mental deterioration of the protagonist in a style which is reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe. If you are searching for a Victorian era ghost story author for inspiration, you may find the supernatural tales of Rudyard Kipling of interest.

Further reading:
The complete supernatural stories of Rudyard Kipling

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This blog post was written in the spirit of the April 2014 A-Z Challenge whereby a post is written every day during the month of April (with the exception of Sunday). The theme of each post is meant to correspond with a letter of the alphabet in sequential order. Monday's post will be on L. For details and to visit the A-Z Challenge website, click here.


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