The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #138935 Message #3209247
Posted By: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
19-Aug-11 - 02:35 AM
Thread Name: Kipling with the Tradition
Subject: RE: Kipling with the Tradition
I think it's a time machine you need for VTVE now, Brian! A nice set, but I always thought he deserved better somehow - which is why it's so good to see the new editions slowly coming to the surface, though I still hope some enterprising type brings them out on vinyl!
That Kipling borrowed heavily of Traditional Verse Idioms (call it what you will) is pretty much self-evident these days, which makes Bellamy's epiphany all the more remarkable; indeed, in the context of the Folk Zeitgeist of the 1960s it must have seemed pretty shocking; God knows it's still shocking to some today. Hell, even I might balk at the inner sentiments of some of this stuff - from the paternalistic conservatism of The Land to the mawkish racism of Gungadin, I have a hell of a job justifying doing it on any level without subjecting Kipling's motives to wholesale reconstruction, much less apology. I suppose it's because he got it right in so many other ways and poems like A Pilgrim's Way and Tommy seem eternally relevant. But even the otherwise innocent wassail of A Tree Song becomes a vehicle for jingoism - or is it just national pride? I have my doubts. Kipling's causal vision of England her Her History is writ pretty large in that stuff - from Warships, Liners and the Little Cargo Boats, his right-wing functionalism sits uneasy with us today. Here in Multi-Ethnic Britain, what use have we of his reactionary racist paternalistic imperialism? The question these days must be not whether or not Kipling borrowed on Folk Song, but Why?
I once set Puck's Song (more historical jingoism!) to Idbury Hill (London Pride) and it fits like a glove. Maybe there should be project to explore just what Kipling poems fit which traditional song tunes. Ron will tell you about the parallels between Danny Deever and False Knight on the Road - a song that Kipling knew by all accounts. If he's anywhere near a computer today & reads this he might even stop by and tell us the story...
Meanwhile, been enjoying the ABC four hour documentary (1982) in which Bellamy talks about Kipling in great depth - full of classic anecdote which brings the thing alive for me, like how he saw ghostly lights fleeing in the woods which had been planted over an old road. Oo-er...