Rudyard Kipling

Martin Seymour-Smith, Author
Martin Seymour-Smith, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (375p) ISBN 978-0-312-03925-7
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
British critic Seymour-Smith maintains that Kipling (1865-1936) was a repressed homosexual who feared his sadomasochistic and other erotic impulses. The author goes through contortions in attempting to bend the scanty biographical evidence to fit his thesis. He probes Kipling's marriage to ``gloomy dragon'' Caroline Balestier, arguing that he was really in love with her brother Wolcott. Published in Britain to much controversy, this study portrays Kipling as a morbidly secretive self-hater who, at his best, rose above his mean-spririted imperialist politics through his writings. Seymour-Smith, who champions Kipling as a major talent, offers close readings of neglected stories as well as of the novels and children's books. He claims that when Kipling's imagination was working at full throttle he was ``positively Shakespearean.'' Photos. (Jan.)