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Beastliness

Harry Ricketts, 16 March 1989

Rudyard Kipling 
by Martin Seymour-Smith.
Macdonald, 373 pp., £16.95, February 1989, 0 356 15852 7
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... as a lie – but this openness does not send him off into Seymour-Smithian suppositions about Harry Holloway, the son, ‘doing things’ to Kipling at night or about the depiction of Auntie Rosa (Mrs Holloway’s fictional counterpart in ‘Baa, Baa, Black Sheep’) being a displacement of Kipling’s vengeful feelings towards his mother. Why ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: David Jones’s War, 19 March 2015

... Royal Welch Fusilier and a fellow convert to Catholicism. It was their only encounter but as Harry Ricketts explains in Strange Meetings, Jones’s deafness and Sassoon’s incorrigible mumbling ensured that it was awkward. Ironically, In Parenthesis is rich with a kind of mumbling – soft incantation – that makes it far harder than anything of ...

A feather! A very feather upon the face!

Amit Chaudhuri: India before Kipling, 6 January 2000

The Unforgiving Minute 
by Harry Ricketts.
Chatto, 434 pp., £25, January 1999, 0 7011 3744 4
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... defeat of the Ilbert Bill in 1883 increased the distance between the Indians and their rulers. As Harry Ricketts points out in his fine biography, Kipling was, at the time, a very young journalist on the Civil and Military Gazette at Lahore. The newspaper was ‘strongly against the Ilbert Bill’, as most Englishmen were, but was pressured by its ...

Insupportable

John Bayley, 19 February 1987

A Choice of Kipling’s Prose 
by Craig Raine.
Faber, 448 pp., £12.50, January 1987, 0 571 13735 0
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Kipling’s Kingdom: His Best Indian Stories 
by Charles Allen.
Joseph, 288 pp., £14.95, January 1987, 0 7181 2570 3
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... of stories in Limits and Renewals, has been demonstrated by the young doyen of Kipling studies, Harry Ricketts, who, like Mrs Bathurst herself, lives and works in New Zealand. Charles Allen, whose great-grandfather brought the 16-year-old Kipling out to Lahore to work on the Civil and Military Gazette, has made a good selection of the Indian ...

Neutered Valentines

David Bromwich: James Agee, 7 September 2006

‘Let Us Now Praise Famous Men’, ‘A Death in the Family’, Shorter Fiction 
by James Agee.
Library of America, 818 pp., $35, October 2005, 1 931082 81 2
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Film Writing and Selected Journalism 
by James Agee.
Library of America, 748 pp., $40, October 2005, 1 931082 82 0
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Brooklyn Is 
by James Agee.
Fordham, 64 pp., $16.95, October 2005, 0 8232 2492 9
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... changing thought and mood as he tries to summon a language equal to the lives of his subjects: the Ricketts, Woods and Gudger families. Sometimes, against his declared purpose, his love overwhelms these people with words and will not let them breathe. The self-depreciating asides (on a middle-class writer’s privilege and complicity) are only a little dated ...

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