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74 SOME LINKS BETWEEN THE STORIES IN KIPLING'S DEBITS AND CREDITS By Lisa A.F. Lewis (London, England) In 1897, Kipling declared that his works could be read in more than one sense, "giving a new pattern in a shift of light."1 By 1926, he had greatly developed this technique; there is a complex design hidden in the book Debits and Credits, conveyed by themes and images which recur in different poems and stories. Read as a single work, the collection illuminates his views of death, sex, law and religion, and of his own literary career, as he looked back over his life and forward to his end. He introduced multiple meanings to his children's books, written for ever older age-groups as his own children grew up. Stalky and Co. (1899) he described as "tracts or parables on the education of the young."2 in Rewards and Fairies (1910), the tales are "in three or four overlaid tints and textures, which might or might not reveal themselyes according to the shifting light of sex, youth and experience .'^ Some attempt at a unifying message appears in the next collection of adult short stories, A Diversity of Creatures (I917). In putting the book together, he seems to have noticed the neurosis in the prewar tales and the change of attitudes once war had broken out; poems such as "Rebirth" and "The Children" emphasize this contrast . In the last story, Mary Postgate, victim of peace, finds release in a dreadful act of war. This paper argues that in Debits and Credits,the next major collection, most of the stories were deliberately made to produce a whole greater than their sum. Links do not exist only within Debits and Credits. They can be found with stories in other collections, as the Masonic characters appear in "Fairy-Kist" and Death and St. Peter in "Uncovenanted Mercies" in the later book Limits and Renewals. In Debits and Credits, however, there exists a Jamesian "Figure in the Carpet," revealing different aspects of itself to different age groups, to men or to .women, to Masons or non-Masons, by cross-reference between the tales. One would expect such a group of interconnected stories to have been written more or less together. In the manuscripts of Debits and Credits at Durham University,* several show signs of redrafting, often more than once. "The Enemies to each Other," for instance, is only a fragment, marked "Once called 'How the Peacock Kept his Tail.'" Professor Carrington's notes from Mrs. Kipling's diaries5 give dates of work on alltheothers.Of the fourteen stories in the collection, nine were definitely written or revised within the two years 1923 to 1925. Two more, though written earlier, probably received a final revision. "Sea Constables" and "In the Interests of the Brethren" were published in 1915 and I9I8 and cannot be considered in this group, though they may have suggested themes and images to be used later. The exact date of "On the Gate" is unclear. It may have started as a story about St. Peter, begun in April I916; 75 according to Rider Haggard, Mrs. Kipling persuaded her husband not to publish it.6 in 1920, he reverted to St. Peter in "The Department of Death"; the (incomplete) draft at Durham is so headed. Parts of it appeared as "On the Gate" when the book came out in 1926 (all the other stories were first published in magazines). "The Janeites" was written in March 1922. In October 1923 Mrs. Kipling records a surge in his inspiration, leading to a major overhaul of his existing material. "A Friend of the Family" was revised on 2 November and by 13 November four stories were ready for his agent: "The Enemies to each Other," "The United Idolators," "The Janeites" and "A Friend of the Family." On 10 November he wrote "The Prophet and the Country." This, I suggest, was the first story written expressly to fit the design. The year 1924 was to produce four vintage tales: "A Madonna of the Trenches," "The Wish House," "The Bull that Thought" and "The Eye of Allah." By December , with two stories still to write, he was...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 74-85
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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