Marjorie, five years older; and Avril, five years younger. When Eric was one year old, his mother took him and his sisters to England. Eric was brought up in the company of his mother and sisters, and apart from a brief visit in mid,  the family did not see their husband or father Richard Blair until Before the First World War, the family moved to ShiplakeOxfordshire where Eric became friendly with the Buddicom family, especially their daughter Jacintha.
Rudyard Kipling Essay It was a pity that Mr.
Eliot should be so much on the defensive in the long essay with which he prefaces this selection of Kipling's poetry, but it was not to be avoided, because before one can even speak about Kipling one has to clear away a legend that has been created by two sets of people who have not read his works.
Kipling is in the peculiar position of having been a byword for fifty years. During five literary generations every enlightened person has despised him, and at the end of that time nine-tenths of those enlightened persons are forgotten and Kipling is in some sense still there.
Eliot never satisfactorily explains this fact, because in answering the shallow and familiar charge that Kipling is a 'Fascist', he falls into the opposite error of defending him where he is not defensible.
It is no use pretending that Kipling's view of life, as a whole, can be accepted or even forgiven by any civilized person.
It is no use claiming, for instance, that when Kipling describes a British soldier beating a 'nigger' with a cleaning rod in order to get money out of him, he is acting merely as a reporter and does not necessarily approve what he describes.
There is not the slightest sign anywhere in Kipling's work that he disapproves of that kind of conduct--on the contrary, there is a definite strain of sadism in him, over and above the brutality which a writer of that type has to have.
Kipling is a jingo imperialist, he is morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting. It is better to start by admitting that, and then to try to find out why it is that he survives while the refined people who have sniggered at him seem to wear so badly. And yet the 'Fascist' charge has to be answered, because the first clue to any understanding of Kipling, morally or politically, is the fact that he was NOT a Fascist.
He was further from being one than the most humane or the most 'progressive' person is able to be nowadays. An interesting instance of the way in which quotations are parroted to and fro without any attempt to look up their context or discover their meaning is the line from 'Recessional', 'Lesser breeds without the Law'.
This line is always good for a snigger in pansy-left circles.
It is assumed as a matter of course that the 'lesser breeds' are 'natives', and a mental picture is called up of some pukka sahib in a pith helmet kicking a coolie.
In its context the sense of the line is almost the exact opposite of this. The phrase 'lesser breeds' refers almost certainly to the Germans, and especially the pan-German writers, who are 'without the Law' in the sense of being lawless, not in the sense of being powerless.
The whole poem, conventionally thought of as an orgy of boasting, is a denunciation of power politics, British as well as German. Two stanzas are worth quoting I am quoting this as politics, not as poetry: If, drunk with sight of power, we loose Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe, Such boastings as the Gentiles use, Or lesser breeds without the Law-- Lord God of hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget--lest we forget!
For heathen heart that puts her trust In reeking tube and iron shard, All valiant dust that builds on dust, And guarding, calls not Thee to guard, For frantic boast and foolish word-- Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord! No one, in our time, believes in any sanction greater than military power; no one believes that it is possible to overcome force except by greater force.
There is no 'Law', there is only power. I am not saying that that is a true belief, merely that it is the belief which all modern men do actually hold. Those who pretend otherwise are either intellectual cowards, or power-worshippers under a thin disguise, or have simply not caught up with the age they are living in.
Kipling's outlook is prefascist. He does not foresee the tank, the bombing plane, the radio and the secret police, or their psychological results.
But in saying this, does not one unsay what I said above about Kipling's jingoism and brutality?
No, one is merely saying that the nineteenth-century imperialist outlook and the modern gangster outlook are two different things. Kipling belongs very definitely to the period The Great War and its aftermath embittered him, but he shows little sign of having learned anything from any event later than the Boer War.
All his confidence, his bouncing vulgar vitality, sprang out of limitations which no Fascist or near-Fascist shares. Kipling spent the later part of his life in sulking, and no doubt it was political disappointment rather than literary vanity that account for this.
Somehow history had not gone according to plan. After the greatest victory she had ever known, Britain was a lesser world power than before, and Kipling was quite acute enough to see this. The virtue had gone out of the classes he idealized, the young were hedonistic or disaffected, the desire to paint the map red had evaporated.
He could not understand what was happening, because he had never had any grasp of the economic forces underlying imperial expansion.
It is notable that Kipling does not seem to realize, any more than the average soldier or colonial administrator, that an empire is primarily a money-making concern.
Imperialism as he sees it is a sort of forcible evangelizing. You turn a Gatling gun on a mob of unarmed 'natives', and then you establish 'the Law', which includes roads, railways and a court-house.
He could not foresee, therefore, that the same motives which brought the Empire into existence would end by destroying it.Fifty Orwell Essays, by George Orwell, free ebook. Contents. THE SPIKE () A HANGING () BOOKSHOP MEMORIES () SHOOTING AN ELEPHANT ().
A Few Words from the Editor of this Website I created this website in hopes of re-introducing Orwell to a wider readership, who may only know him through his most famous novel Nineteen Eighty urbanagricultureinitiative.com how frequently Orwell is quoted out of context in political discussions on the Internet -- often to support spurious arguments and political causes which he might have condemned in his own.
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