Wednesday, September 9, 2015
My grandfather, a Kipling fan, a Victorian-at-heart, used to read to me The Just-So Stories. O best beloved!
[Rudyard Kipling was one of the most popular writers in England, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Henry James said: "Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known." In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English-language writer to receive the prize.]
The above Great White Knight of The Canon of Dead White Men is not the Kipling that I knew. The Kipling I knew was my Grandfather being the great snake Nagaina from The Jungle Book in a soft voice hissing his s's ("if you move I strike, and if you do not move I strike") while the fire sparkled with copper sulfate that he put it to turn the flames blue for the sake of magic.
He was a man of "infinite-resource-and-sagacity."
Now I'm reading How The Elephant Got Its Trunk to the kids, 8 and 10, but they're not half as moon-struck mooncalf as I was as a pre-teen. They're sophisticated non-fiction. They're like, "The elephant's truck evolved, Mom. And the 'great gray-green greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever trees'? What?"