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Rudyard Kipling's Fiction

Mapping Psychic Spaces

Lizzy Welby

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Reads Kipling’s fiction through the lens of French feminism to reinstate the abjected maternal feminine in his art

This study provides an entirely new reading of Kipling's fiction using the feminist psychoanalytic methodology of Julia Kristeva and Hélène Cixous, focusing particularly on ideas of the abjected maternal feminine. It examines Kipling's ambivalent relationship to the India of his childhood and the 'loss' of his mother figures. In doing so, it peels back the layers of masculine bravado that continues to characterize Kipling’s fiction to reveal a valorized ‘feminine’ space. From readings of the 1888 story 'Baa Baa, Black Sheep' through The Jungle Book and Stalky & Co., Kim, The Day's Work, Puck of Pook's Hill and Rewards and Fairies, Lizzy Welby demonstrates that Kipling created ways of rediscovering a symbolised feminine landscape as a restorative space, which was part of his 'psychic mapping'.

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Note on the text
IIntroduction Two Separate Sides to his Head: Kipling’s Ambivalent India
1 Paradise Lost: Kipling’s Southsea Years
2 Mastering the Law-of-the-Father in The Jungle Book and Stalky & Co.
3 Empire of Contradictions: Desire for the Impossible Mother India in Kim
4 The ‘Sorrowful State of Manhood’: Kipling’s Adults in India
5 The Ascent from the Abyss: Dedication to Duty in The Day’s Work
Conclusion This Other Eden: Puck of Pook’s Hill, Rewards and Fairies
End Notes

About the Author

Lizzy Welby teaches at the College Fançais Bilingue de Londres, London. She is an elected Council Member of The Kipling Society and has edited, with an introduction, Rudyard Kipling: Selected Verse (CRW Publishing, 2012). She has published articles on Rudyard Kipling, James Joyce, Angela Carter and Sylvia Plath. She is also winner of the 2014 Lorian Hemingway Short story Competition for a story entitled, ‘The Breakers’.

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