The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #138935   Message #3211947
Posted By: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
24-Aug-11 - 07:45 AM
Thread Name: Kipling with the Tradition
Subject: RE: Kipling with the Tradition
In approaching any historic material one has to contexualise it in order to appreciate it (& enjoy it) all the more. For sure much of his more evident sentiments are of the primal / universal / nail-on-the-head variety but not so his Folk Songs which are of a very different order as touched upon above. For example, it helps to have a working knowledge of sailing ships to understand Anchor Song, and an awareness of maritime history to get the references in Frankie's Trade. Likewise the Barrack Room Ballads insist upon a casual smattering of military history before they really work (Ford O' Kabul River isworth checking out in this respect). In his Puck Songs he's expecting a lot of his young readers - maybe because that's the way things were back then; or simply by way of engendering the prospective urge in the minds of his readers, which is no bad thing. For sure it works today for all ages. The Smuggler's Song is a clever piece of double-edge edged cunning in which the simplification is part of a far more sophisticated method on the part of poet and smuggler alike, and it's worth checking the details of Cuckoo Song and A Tree Song with respect of a wider folklore and the assumptions thereof. For example A Tree Song makes a lot of assumptions on the Frazerian Variety, albeit set in 1200 to further enforce those sorts of romantic continuities which Kipling so relishes. Hearty stuff for sure, but very much of their time. And I often wonder how that River Bit in The Land is faring these days; probably under a garden centre carpark I shouldn't wonder...

So read it, enjoy it, but as with all things (especially in Folk Realms) we enjoy it a whole lot more the more we know about it.