chapter  2
34 Pages

Kipling’s Rules of the Game

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) is the logical beginning point for a study of empire and imperialism in children’s books. His lifetime roughly coincides with the span of children’s literature considered here and his writings consciously dealt with the anxieties and ambiguities of empire, anxieties and ambiguities reflected by other children’s texts as well. Furthermore, Kipling’s inspiration and obsession was India, the “jewel in the crown” of Britain’s empire, and for many Englishmen synonymous with empire in a way that Africa, or Australia, or Jamaica was not. As V.G.Kiernan has pointed out, the “main patterns of all British colonial administration were formed [in India]; and to the public, empire with all its romantic associations meant chiefly India.”1