The standing of Rudyard Kipling, barrackroom balladeer to the common man and poet laureate of the high noon of Empire, has suffered at the hands of our changing social values in the five decades since his death. Now Martin Seymour-Smith has taken advantage of the lifting of constraints so long imposed by the Kipling family with the granting of extensive access to Kipling's personal papers. The resulting biography contains an investigation into Kipling's sexuality as a mainspring of his creativity, and the author's introduction to this edition offers a response to the criticism which his analysis provoked.
more of Kipling with whom I am writing a story in collaboration. The scene is to be partly far Western American (W.B.) and partly Indian (R.K.).' He also succeeded in reconciling Kipling to Howells. Both these achievements would have been a considerable feather in anyone's cap. The literary world might not have been surprised to hear that Kipling was collaborating on something with, say, Barrie, or Stevenson (had Stevenson been around to collaborate with), or even Gosse himself (whose output,
out of the high windows by their ankles, or were made to put their ear to a keyhole while someone hammered it from the other side. These habits have not yet died out in schools. Kipling and Dunsterville, echoed by many an approving commentator, also insist that use was unusually 'clean' - but we shall come to that. Beresford is wiser and makes no such po-faced statement. He saw what he saw and was able to remember it because it didn't bother him that much - nor, perhaps, did he feel he needed to
become very close, perhaps so close as for him to consider or to dwell upon the idea of marrying her when she became a widow, was the American wife of a meteorologist in government service; she was about thirty. Young men may also shrink from the intimate company of women of their own age because they are ambitious and do not want to have their strength literally drained from them by 'Delilahs'. There may or may not be a misogynistic element in that state of mind; and the origins of homosexuality
keep such feelings and physical desires wholly out of consciousness. Such matters could only be ignored as best as might be. Such a strenuous procedure could lead to breakdowns, especially when anxious parents were assiduously watching out for tell-tale signs of 'normal' impulses - unless Alice's intuitions were even subtler than that. It is not too hard, then, to surmise one of the origins of a theme that will become one of Kipling's main concerns. This is why I have suggested that his attitude
in her position would have discreetly diverted his attention to her younger sister, unattached and near to Rudyard's age ... It is worth bearing in mind that young men who find themselves uncomfortably attracted by their own sex frequently look out for a motherly 104 Rudyard Kipling woman to initiate them into the sorts of mysteries that might release them from their severe embarrassment. Some men, by a successful transference of tender expression from one sex to another, have achieved