Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Kipling in America …

… Five Books from Rudyard Kipling's New England | Book Marks. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

We have to remind ourselves that Emerson was Prometheus for Kipling’s generation, a great liberator, and not the Polonius we sometimes think he was. Nietzsche loved Emerson. All the avant-garde European writers, from Baudelaire to Rilke, read Emerson with reverence. And Kipling came out of that kind of background; his uncle was the Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones, and he knew the socialist writer and artist William Morris when he was growing up. Emerson told his readers to trust themselves, to ignore conventions. “Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.” Kipling’s heroes—Mowgli, Kim, and the rest—invented their own codes, lived by their own rules.
I remember the cold clear day in February — I was a sophomore in high school — when I first read Emerson’s “Self-Reliance.” It was for me a personal declaration of independence.

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