The Provincial Cosmopolitan: Kipling, India and Globalization

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Abstract

Rudyard Kipling was the product of a globalizing world. Aiming consciously to establish himself as an international author, he translated himself to the literary metropole from a marginal colonial background. However, his migration led him to register in his metropolitan writings a sense of cultural dislocation, jarring imperial Europe from the central position it presumed to occupy. This article draws on Marxist literary theory to locate the cause of this fin-de-siècle malaise as a tension between the universalizing power of western capital and its concomitant erosion of cultural diversity. Although Kipling’s peregrinations lead to a juggling of identities and poetic masks, he exploited this dynamic to assert himself as an articulator of identity who was ideally placed to respond to the crisis of alienation and anomie that he sensed was besetting European culture. This theme is explored through Kipling’s writings up to Kim. The concluding section discursively compares these writings with theosophical texts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-404
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Postcolonial Writing
Volume49
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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