Author: Rudyard Kipling
Publisher: Createspace Independent Pub
Publication Date: 6 October 2009
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 187 pages
Cost: Rs.684 (Paperback), Rs.230 (Kindle)
Kim by Rudyard Kipling was first published serially in McClure's Magazine from December 1900 to October 1901 as well as in Cassell's Magazine from January to November 1901, and first published in book form by MacMillan & Co. Ltd in October 1901.
The story is set against the backdrop of The Great Game, the political conflict between Russia and Britain in Central Asia. It is set after the Second Afghan War which ended in 1881, but before the Third, perhaps in the 1890s.The novel is notable for its detailed portrait of Indian people, culture, and its varied religions. It is generally considered by critics to be Kipling's best serious long novel.
Britain’s role in India and it’s colonial practices: KIM is all about that in a satisfying way.
‘KIM’ represented the height of the Raj in the British view, with all of its splendor, comfortable hierarchy, and charming racism - a powerful, benevolent, and technologically, although not socially modernizing Raj, with the interests of India at heart. The novel on the surface is what comes across above all else is Kipling's monumental knowledge of India as it was in Victorian times.
In Kim, the only indirect ruler introduced is the elderly Kulu woman (never directly named) who is encountered in a passing caravan. But while specific mention of indirect leaders may be limited, the elderly woman makes up for it with great loyalty and assistance to Kim and through him the British in general.
To examine the themes in the novel we should approach it as an adventure story probably aimed primarily at adolescent boys, in which Kim is seeking to find his place in the country in which he was born, while at the same time struggling to find, or create, an identity for himself. These two quests, the lama's for the 'Great Soul' and Kim's to play the 'Great Game' of spying, seem as different as can be. One could hardly imagine that two such contrasting ambitions could be yoked together. And yet Kipling brings them together and makes them compatible in a way which is central to the unique quality of Kim the novel, and the unique identity of Kim the character.
“Kipling can inspire passionate disagreement.” - Douglas Kerr
Milestones of the Book:
- In 1998, the Modern Library ranked ‘KIM’ No. 78 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
- In 2003 the book was listed on the BBC's The Big Read poll of the UK's ‘best-loved novel’.
- An MGM film adaptation of the novel, directed by Victor Saville and produced by Leon Gordon, was released in 1950. It was adapted by Helen Deutsch and Leon Gordon, and starred Errol Flynn, Dean Stockwell, Paul Lukas, Robert Douglas, Thomas Gomez and Cecil Kellaway. It featured a music score by André Previn.
- In 1960, a one-hour color adaptation of Kim was televised on NBC's anthology series Shirley Temple's Storybook. Tony Haig portrayed Kim, Michael Rennie played Captain Creighton, and Alan Napier played Colonel Devlin. The episode has been released on DVD.
- A London Films television film version of Kim was made in 1984. It was directed by John Howard Davies and starred Peter O'Toole, Bryan Brown, John Rhys-Davies, Julian Glover and Ravi Sheth as Kim. In 2006 it was released on DVD by Home Video Entertainment.
About the Author:
Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 - 18 January 1936) was a British author and poet. Born in Bombay, British India, he is best known for his works of fiction The Jungle Book (1894) (a collection of stories which includes Rikki-Tikki-Tavi), Kim (1901) (a tale of adventure), many short stories. He is regarded as a major "innovator in the art of the short story"; his children's books are enduring classics of children's literature; and his best works speak to a versatile and luminous narrative gift.
Kipling was one of the most popular writers in English, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English language writer to receive the prize, and to date he remains its youngest recipient. Among other honours, he was sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and on several occasions for a knighthood, all of which he declined. Later in life Kipling came to be recognized (by George Orwell, at least) as a ‘prophet of British imperialism’.