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|Title:||Orwell and Kipling: Global Visions|
|Abstract:||This essay argues for a close relationship and intriguing similarities between George Orwell and Rudyard Kipling, writers a generation apart, who are usually thought of as occupying opposite ends of the political spectrum, with Kipling’s wholehearted conservative belief in the British Empire standing in contrast to Orwell’s socialist hatred of the same institution. Yet these two great writers of fiction and journalism have much in common: born in India into what Orwell called “the ‘service’ middle class,” both had their political and intellectual formation in the East. Empire made Kipling proud and it made Orwell ashamed, but their imperial experience overseas gave both of them a global vision, which each in turn tried to share with their readers at home who understood too little, they felt, of Britain’s global responsibilities (Kipling) or her reliance on a “coolie empire” (Orwell). This essay examines the global vision of both writers, and the highly partial perspective conferred on it by the optic of empire. It does so by looking at two journalistic or “travel writing” texts about other people’s empires: Kipling’s account in From Sea to Sea of a visit to China in 1889, and Orwell’s essay “Marrakech,” written during his stay in French Morocco in 1938-39.|
|Appears in Collections:||Concentric: Studies in English Literature and Linguistics|
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