The Art of Rudyard Kipling

By J. M. S. Tompkins | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Kipling and the Novel

It was one of Kipling's disappointments that he did not prove a novelist. In India he had worked on a novel that was never completed, and within a few months of his arrival in London he had set himself down to another, drawing a good deal on his own experiences (as Something of Myself clearly shows) and expressing at full and eloquent length the relation of a young artist to his art. The Light that Failed was not the complete success that he must have hoped for, and sooner or later he saw that it was not the novel he hoped to write. In Something of Myself he calls it 'that conte' and puts it in its place as 'not a built book', while taking some comfort in the fact that the French liked it. The ambition to proceed novelist did not, however, desert him for a long time, and he tells us that it was often discussed in the family. For some ten years he made various approaches to it, but after Kim he gradually accepted his restriction to the short story, and learnt in the end to make it carry the weight of a novel.

There is no need to dwell on his next long book, The Naulahka. It is a matter of obvious incentives and readily available resources. Much of it parallels 'Letters of Marque', the newspaper articles he had written on his tour in Rajputana, and in his collaboration with the American Wolcott Balestier he may have looked primarily for the impulse of a substantial, continuous story, in the turns of which he could stow the memories of his travel. The writing of the Indian scenes is in the main better than that in the original articles, but it is impossible to think that much effort went to this book. No doubt, however, pleasure did, a rare taste of partnership in writing, perhaps a pleasure in letting the collaborator have his head, perhaps a glee in angling for the American public with a book of which hero and heroine were American. It resulted, however, in artistic confusion and nullity. At the end the reader can have it all ways at once. Kate's missionary zeal is


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Art of Rudyard Kipling


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 282

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?