Review: 100 Poems Old and New by Rudyard Kipling

Selected and Edited by Thomas Pinney

Cambridge University Press

11 December 2013

poems

This is a collection of mostly unfamiliar poems by Rudyard Kipling, culled from a variety of sources.

There are poems of Empire and war, love and grief, and reflect the times in which they were written and the temperament of the man who wrote them. There’s a certain amount of doggerel verse mixed in with the epic ballads derived classical literature, and poems written in ‘vernacular’ and mock-Shakespearean English, lauding various aspects of the Empire.

The poems strike a modern reader as slightly jingoistic and this new collection might seem anachronistic, if it weren’t for the literary merit they possess and the insight they provide in to the atmosphere in India during the last years of the Raj, and the affect the First World War had on those who lived through it.

An interesting collection that will hopefully bring to a wider audience some of the lesser known works of one of late Empire’s best poets.

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