New Kipling Poems Discovered

Rudyard KiplingThis month 50 unpublished poems by Rudyard Kipling will be released. Kipling is one of my favorite authors, so I look forward to these unseen works.

Kipling has long been out of fashion, despite winning the Nobel Prize in Literature and being quite popular in his time. The Guardian article links to an article by Orwell on Kipling, which probably contributed greatly to this fashionable neglect. Orwell said:

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.

I am reminded of Orwell's low opinion of Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, commonly regarded now as Waugh's greatest novel, while Orwell thought it was his worst [Orwell was dying at the time]. Maybe the common theme here is Orwell was unable to see past his disagreements with other authors of comparable stature.

I find Kipling and Waugh better than Orwell, although Orwell tends to rank higher in reading lists than either of them. It may be because Orwell is required reading for the educated classes in the English speaking world, while Waugh and Kipling are less commonly assigned. I certain know few who read 1984 for fun.

I think Orwell's essay on Kipling is worth a read. He was a hell of a writer. Kipling is simply closer to my heart, and I think closer to the truth than Orwell was.