The Long Recessional
The Imperial Life of Rudyard Kipling
A brilliantly illuminating study of the writer who embodied the spirit of his country a hundred years ago as closely as Shakespeare had done 300 years before
David Gilmour's superb biography of Rudyard Kipling is the first to show how the life and work of the great writer mirrored the trajectory of the British Empire, from its zenith to its final decades. His famous poem 'Recessional' celebrated Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, but his last poems warned of the dangers of Nazism, and in those intervening years Kipling, himself an icon of the Empire, was transformed from an apostle of success to a prophet of national decline. As Gilmour makes clear, Kipling's mysterious stories and poetry deeply influenced the way his readers saw both themselves and the British Empire, and they continue to challenge us today.