Read Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling Free Online
Book Title: Puck of Pook's Hill|
The author of the book: Rudyard Kipling
Date of issue: October 1906
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 477 KB
Edition: Doubleday, Page & Company
Read full description of the books Puck of Pook's Hill:The more familiar I become with Kipling's many short, fantastical works, the clearer it becomes that almost every fantasy author of the past century owes him a great debt. I have pointed out before that he has written works which lay out whole subgenres--blueprints which later authors like C.S. Lewis, H.P Lovecraft, Neal Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke have expanded upon.
And in this collection, we can see yet another branch of influence. In several stories spanning centuries of English history, Kipling writes of war, politics, and adventure amongst the clash of conquerors and settlers of that island. Each story is full of unusual historical details and characters, woven closely together into a rich and varied tapestry where beauty, comedy, and tragedy are depicted side by side.
It is this vividity of myriad emotions that I have come to see as the mark of a great and exciting tale of adventure. As Howard said of his greatest creation, Conan the Barbarian:
"Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet..."
Of the many authors who have followed after Howard, the great majority are lackluster, for though they all remember the 'gigantic melancholies', none recall the 'gigantic mirth'. And indeed, these tales of Kipling's are immediately reminiscent of the wild, strange adventures penned by Howard and Leiber.
They both learned well the lesson that both magic and realism are dependent on a constant rush of strange yet naturalistic details. Any long-winded explanation is the death of a story, while innumerable implications of the greater world are its life. More than that, they resemble Kipling in form. The sorts of characters, places, events, and twists we see are immediately familiar to the connoisseur of Sword and Sorcery: piracy, doomed battles, monstrous apes, lost treasures, inscrutable foreign allies, mystery cults, ruthless generals, seers, &c.
Tying all these tales together was a frame story taken from the English fairy tale tradition, with the familiar theme of modern children accidentally coming across ancient myths (though in this case, they are only listeners, not participants). Yet what fascinated me was how fantastical the stories themselves felt, despite the fact that they were not overtly magical. Even so, Kipling maintains a consistent tone of wonderment and strangeness, often by representing the world through the eyes of the characters, themselves.
So many authors seem to think that including some elves and dragons will make a story wondrous, but for the most part, they are known quantities, not mysterious entities. We all know what dragons are, so their appearance in fantasy could hardly surprise us. No story will be fantastical if it is fundamentally familiar and predictable. It is not the color of a creature's skin that makes it otherworldly, it is how the creature is personified. It is simply impossible to make something fantastical without a strong sense of tone.
So perhaps I should have been less surprised that I found in the thirty pages of one of these stories more complex characters, emotional depth, and sense of the mystical than I have in most five-hundred page books about yet another dragon war.
Unfortunately, I found the last few stories dragged on a bit, lacking the conciseness and immediacy of the earlier ones. Kipling's attempt to tie all the stories together into a meaningful narrative about English identity was stretched a bit thin. Likewise, there is an uncomfortable implication of 'White Man's Burden' in the way the Romans treat the Picts--but if anything, the fact that he turns the same argument on his own people suggests that it is a comment about international power relations, and not race.
Once more, Kipling shows the breadth of his imagination--the many periods, peoples, and stories he covered--and it's easy to see his influence among the best writers of fantasy and adventure.
My List of Suggested Fantasy Books
Read information about the authorJoseph Rudyard Kipling was a journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist.
Kipling's works of fiction include The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901), and many short stories, including The Man Who Would Be King (1888). His poems include Mandalay (1890), Gunga Din (1890), The Gods of the Copybook Headings (1919), The White Man's Burden (1899), and If— (1910). He is regarded as a major innovator in the art of the short story; his children's books are classics of children's literature; and one critic described his work as exhibiting "a versatile and luminous narrative gift".
Kipling was one of the most popular writers in the United Kingdom, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Henry James said: "Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known." In 1907, at the age of 41, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English-language writer to receive the prize, and its youngest recipient to date. He was also sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and on several occasions for a knighthood, both of which he declined.
Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907 "in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author."
Kipling kept writing until the early 1930s, but at a slower pace and with much less success than before. On the night of 12 January 1936, Kipling suffered a haemorrhage in his small intestine. He underwent surgery, but died less than a week later on 18 January 1936 at the age of 70 of a perforated duodenal ulcer. Kipling's death had in fact previously been incorrectly announced in a magazine, to which he wrote, "I've just read that I am dead. Don't forget to delete me from your list of subscribers."
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