Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was one of the most popular writers in the United Kingdom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His fiction works include The Jungle Book — a classic of children’s literature — and the rousing adventure novel Kim, as well as books of poems, short stories, and essays. In 1907, at the age of 42, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Barrack Room Balladsby Rudyard Kipling
The Barrack-Room Ballads are a set of martial songs and poems by Rudyard Kipling originally published in two parts: the first set in 1892, the second in 1896. Many have become classic military ditties, still well known, and are closely linked to British imperialism in many minds, particularly Gunga Din, Tommy and Danny Deever.Rudyard Kipling was an English author and poet, born in Bombay, India, and is best known for The Jungle Book series and is regarded as a major "innovator in the art of the short story"; his children's books are enduring classics of children's literature. Kipling was one of the most popular writers in English, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English language writer to receive the prize, and he remains its youngest-ever recipient.
However, later in life Kipling also came to be seen (in George Orwell's words) as a "prophet of British imperialism." Many saw prejudice and militarism in his works, and the resulting controversy about him continued for much of the 20th century. According to critic Douglas Kerr: "He is still an author who can inspire passionate disagreement and his place in literary and cultural history is far from settled. But as the age of the European empires recedes, he is recognized as an incomparable, if controversial, interpreter of how empire was experienced. That, and an increasing recognition of his extraordinary narrative gifts, make him a force to be reckoned with.
- Hesperides Press
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I've been reading Kipling since I was much younger than now, and am quite familiar with the esoteric slang of the Victorian British army. But I'm sure the specific meanings of many words and phrases, such as "Aggy Chel," and "pukka", and others seen throughout Kipling's work are totally lost on modern-day readers. This edition by Dodo Press does nothing to correct the problem. It uses no footnotes nor other explanations for these 19th century colloquialisms. The result is to stop the reader in mid-stanza with a puzzled look, and force him or her to try to work it out from the context of the piece, or scratch their heads and move on. Either way, the vitality of Kipling's work, and the reader's enjoyment of it are needlessly interrupted. This and other modern editions of Kipling's work need footnotes. And editors with enough professionalism to learn their meanings and include those in the text. It ain't rocket science, folks. Really it's not!