Kipling is one of those writers who I don't know how to properly parse, because at different times in his life he seems to have been two very different people with entirely different world views.In his early writings he strikes me as jingoistic, imperialistic, and suffering from a "white saviour complex". But then after the death of his son in the first world war, his seems to have a change of heart and comes to believe the exact opposite sorts of things - that nationalism is hollow, that people are all essentially the same, that warfare is absurd, that glory is a lie, and that imperialism is morally wrong. It's just so rare to see such a staggering shift in worldview in such a prominent historical figure.
From my limited reading, I'd say that Kipling's fiction is often better than his poetry, which was jingoistic and warlike, just as Verloren says. I've been hoping for some revived interest in him, but his fiction is so distant from the post-post-modernism favored by the Academy that it's unlikely to ever happen.
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