can-do energy and unflappability


Today we associate Rudyard Kipling overwhelmingly with India, but this is a mistake. Never was a writer so much on the go. During a working career spanning half a century he lived on four continents and visited over twenty countries, including not only France, Spain, Italy and Belgium but also the United States and Canada, Brazil, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Algeria, Egypt and Palestine, Japan, China, Burma, Malaya, Singapore, Jamaica and Bermuda. A journalist by training and by nature a voracious observer, writing at a time when developments in mass transportation were making the globe ever smaller, Kipling was ideally placed, both historically and temperamentally, to chronicle the otherness of Britain’s colonies and beyond for his metropolitan readers at home. His appetite for travel was compulsive, his sense of the strangeness of abroad deeply ingrained. Born in Bombay in 1865 in the heyday of the British Raj, he spent his childhood shuttling between England and India, which appeared to have left him with an abiding sense of dislocation. For Kipling, almost everywhere was “other”: he remained, at heart, an outsider in every country he lived in or visited.

more from Elizabeth Lowry at the TLS here.