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View Diary: History for Kossacks: This Very Evening, 107 Years Ago (66 comments)

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  •  A bit of both. (none)
    One of the joys of reading Kipling is losing yourself in the uncomfortable mix of racism and anti-racism, warmonger and peacenik, jingoist and universalist, misogynist and activist, etc., etc.  A man of infinite contradictions, which in my mind, makes him all the more interesting.  More human, at least.

    It's telling that one of his most-quoted lines,

    OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,

    is taken entirely out of context:

    But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,   
    When two strong men stand face to face, tho' they come from the ends of the earth!

    Borges wrote a defense of Kipling against narrow interpretations of racist and imperialist.  I'm inclined to agree.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Sun Feb 05, 2006 at 09:31:55 AM PST

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    •  agreed (none)
      Have you seen Alec McCowen's one-man show in which he played Kipling?  He was very good at capturing these contradictions.

      Perhaps some mighty victory is growing in you now. - Mike Finley

      by hrh on Sun Feb 05, 2006 at 10:04:29 AM PST

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