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Decadent or Hearty?: Kipling's Dilemma

Citation: Adams, Jad (2008) Decadent or Hearty?: Kipling's Dilemma. The Kipling Journal, 82 (352). pp. 9-27. ISSN 0023-1738

When Kipling settled in London in 1889 he had no obvious literary homeland. His family background with the Pre-Raphaelites and his exotic ‘Indian Gothic’ writing suited him for the decadents. His relationship with the soldiers and administrators of the Empire, however, made him more a candidate for the hearties of the ‘Henley regatta’ meeting at Solferino’s restaurant in Rupert Street. Kipling’s working out of this dichotomy took place while he was writing the novel 'The Light That Failed' in which he grappled with the fin de siècle themes of the artist in society, the New Woman, London life and, perhaps unconsciously, homoeroticism. This paper will use an analysis of 'The Light That Failed' to look at Kipling’s position in literary London, pointing up the similarities between the supposedly antagonistic literary movements, both of which relied for their raison d’être on their relationship to the British Empire.

Creators: Adams, Jad and
Subjects: English
Keywords: Kipling, Decadent, Hearty
Divisions: Institute of English Studies
  • March 2008 (published)


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