Plain Tales from the Hills

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Witty, wry, sometimes cynical, sometimes pathetic, the Plain Tales with their brevity and concentration of effect are a landmark in the history of the short story as an art-form.

First published in 1888, Plain Tales from the Hills was Kipling's first volume of prose fiction. Most of the stories it includes had already appeared in the Civil and Military Gazette; all were written before he reached the age of 22; and they show a remarkably precocious literary talent. His vignettes ...

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Plain Tales from the Hills (Barnes & Noble Digital Library)

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Witty, wry, sometimes cynical, sometimes pathetic, the Plain Tales with their brevity and concentration of effect are a landmark in the history of the short story as an art-form.

First published in 1888, Plain Tales from the Hills was Kipling's first volume of prose fiction. Most of the stories it includes had already appeared in the Civil and Military Gazette; all were written before he reached the age of 22; and they show a remarkably precocious literary talent. His vignettes of life in British India a hundred years ago give vivid insights into Anglo-India at work and play, into barrack-room life, and into the character of Indians themselves.

This edition contains two stories which appeared in the original series but were not included in the collected volume.

This volume contains a selection of powerful stories about life in British India.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set principally in Shimla, the mountain town and summer capital of the Raj, Kipling's 40 short stories on the manners and mores of British settlers in India are well observed and masterful character studies. Martin Jarvis begins beautifully; his warm voice is a rich and textured instrument, and he becomes Kipling's narrator effortlessly; rather like Fitzgerald's Nick Carraway, Kipling's stand-in casts a camera-like view on the intrigue, pettiness, and genuine tragedies in his little world. There is wit that borders on the Wildean (“She was wicked, in a businesslike way. There was never any scandal; she had not generous impulses enough for that”). It would be a nearly flawless listen—but for Jarvis's inaccurate and rather cringe-inducing accents for the Indian characters. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780955519635
  • Publisher: Capuchin Classics
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Series: Capuchin Classics
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Rudyard Joseph Kipling was born in Bombay in 1865. In 1982 he started work as a journalist in India, and while there produced a body of work, stories, sketches and poems
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Table of Contents

General Preface
Note on the Text
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of Kipling's Life and Works
Dedication 3
Preface 5
Lispeth 7
Three and - an Extra 12
Thrown Away 16
Miss Youghal's Sais 24
'Yoked with an Unbeliever' 30
False Dawn 35
The Rescue of Pluffles 43
Cupid's Arrows 48
The Three Musketeers 53
His Chance in Life 59
Watches of the Night 65
The Other Man 71
Consequences 75
The Conversion of Aurelian McGoggin 81
The Taking of Lungtungpen 86
A Germ-Destroyer 92
Kidnapped 97
The Arrest of Lieutenant Golightly 102
In the House of Suddhoo 108
His Wedded Wife 116
The Broken-Link Handicap 122
Beyond the Pale 127
In Error 133
A Bank Fraud 137
Tod's Amendment 144
The Daughter of the Regiment 150
In the Pride of his Youth 156
Pig 162
The Rout of the White Hussars 169
The Bronckhorst Divorce-Case 179
Venus Annodomini 185
The Bisara of Pooree 190
A Friend's Friend 195
The Gate of the Hundred Sorrows 201
The Madness of Private Ortheris 207
The Story of Muhammad Din 215
On the Strength of a Likeness 218
Wressley of the Foreign Office 224
By Word of Mouth 229
To be Filed for Reference 234
App. A Bitters Neat 243
App. B Haunted Subalterns 247
Explanatory Notes 252
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    "When a man begins to sink in India ... he falls very low"

    "When a man begins to sink in India, and is not sent Home by his friends as soon as may be, he falls very low from a respectable point of view." To demonstrate the truth of that sentiment is the task of a short story called "To Be FIled For Reference." It appears as 40th and last of PLAIN TALES FROM THE HILLS, published in book form in 1888 by 22-year old Rudyard Kipling. The narrator, meant very likely to be Kipling himself, runs across 35-year old loafer and drunkard Briton MacIntosh Jellaludin. *** A learned product of Oxford University, and drunken babbler in classical Greek and German, McIntosh spends his nights in a native flat just off the ancient Sultan Caravanserai. He looks more 50 than 35. McIntosh has lived affectionately with a native woman for the past three years. He tells his narrator friend: "I require neither your money, your food, nor your cast-off raiment. I am that rare animal, a self-supporting drunkard." *** Dying of pneumonia McIntosh Jellaludin passes reverently to his only English friend a massive manuscript containing all his wisdom. "The papers were in a hopeless muddle." *** In another PLAIN TALE, Gabral Misquitta, a half-caste friend of Kipling, tells how five years ago he became addicted to opium smoking, after first experimenting with Black Smoke at his home in Calcutta. An old Chinaman, Fung-Tching, collects Misquitta's inheritance from an aunt, 30 rupees per month, and for that gives Misquitta good opium to smoke, sufficient food to eat and a place to sleep in colorful quarters. *** Misquitta told Kipling: "I should like to die ... on a clean, cool mat and with a cool pipe of good stuff between my lips." *** In "The Taking of Lungtungpen," Kipling's great chum, Private Terence Mulvaney, an Irishman, recalls how he inspired young Lieutenant Brazenose and 24 raw recruits to swim the Irrawaddy river and capture the bandit-ridden town of Lungtungpen. This the British do storming in stark naked (their clothes having been kept dry on tree trunks pushed across the stream) against their almost completely surprised enemies. The town's Headman asked later (as phrased in Mulvaney's Irish English: "'Av the English fight like that wid their clo'es off, what in the wurruld do they do with their clo'es on?'" To Mulvaney the answer is clear enough: "'They tuk Lungtunpen nakid; an' they'd take St. Petherburg in their dhrawers! Begad, they would that!'" *** And so they go: 40 PLAIN TALES FROM THE HILLS. These are stories of a relative handful of English, Scots and other Britons ruling, as the Paramount Power in India, millions of Hindu, Muslim and other subjects, speaking dozens of major languages. These men are bored, their health is often shattered, they drink too much, they fall in love with the wrong women. And very young Rudyard Kipling watched them do it. PLAIN TALES FROM THE HILLS: a brilliant early work by a future Nobel Prize winner. -OOO-

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2011

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