5 thoughts on “Two On Kipling”

  1. Lewis’ “That Hideous Strength” understood far more than did either Orwell’s “1984” or Huxley’s “Brave New World.” Lewis realized that reality includes a spiritual dimension.

    Orwell thought it was done by sticks (Big Brother’s power). Huxley thought carrots worked (soma, orgies.) Both wrote books after earlier championing socialism but then coming to see where it led. Both books end in despair, with no answer.

    Not so Lewis. He realized at root socialism attempts to make man into God, able to understand and control all. He not only agreed with Orwell and Huxley about a dismal end for socialism. He insisted it had to have that end. Only with an intervention beyond man could one avoid that end. His solution was faith.

  2. Orwell’s comments are in some ways perceptive, but note his reference to “his solitary novel, The Light that Failed.” Orwell does not know that Kipling wrote _Kim_, his one great novel, or even _Captains Courageous_, which would count as a pretty good book if it hadn’t been written by a world class author.

    And Orwell is, as usual, far too confident in his understanding of economics.

  3. Lewis is much better, in part because he has read much more Kipling. But one point struck me as a bit odd::.

    “His English countryside with its way of life is partly loved because American millionaires can’t understand it, aren’t in the know.”

    Part of the point of “An Habitation Enforced” is that the American millionaire, by the end, is in the know.

    Perhaps Lewis is thinking of a different story.

  4. Not impressed with the Orwell, and was skimming towards the end.

    Orwell seemed to be commenting as much on his own world as on Kipling, and maybe reading too much into things.

    As a modern American with little experience with Privates, and most of internet veteran contacts being NCOs or officers, I am inclined to believe in Privates who ‘get’ Kipling.

    Orwell might not have considered Kim or Captains Courageous to be true novels. Orwell in this essay seems to have very rigidly held ideas about divisions of humanity. People with the necessary innate qualities to produce literature being rarely found in the military, etc. His lack of charity for those on the other sides of those divisions seems no less offensive than a hypothetical person who believes it best to exterminate the foreigner, for the foreigner’s own benefit, as well as for that of domestic interests.

  5. I was raised on Kipling. My first hero was Rikki Tikki Tavi and I loved the Jungle books, my motto is still “run and find out”. My favourite apart from the Jungle Books is How The Elephant Got His Trunk. So much spanking. ;)

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