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Eastern FiguresOrient and Empire in British Writing$
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Douglas Kerr

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9789622099340

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622099340.001.0001

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Conversions and Reversions

Conversions and Reversions

(p.23) 3 Conversions and Reversions
Eastern Figures

Douglas Kerr

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter discusses conversions and reversions in the works of Rudyard Kipling, specifically in Plain Tales from the Hills, his first book of stories. Conversions and reversions provided the structure for many of his narratives, and had particularly intricate variations in his Indian novel Kim. The chapter looks at the liberal and conservative ideas in India. While the figure of conversion helped many British people understand their country's relation with India, the liberal voice persisted until the end of British India. Kipling viewed the liberal as speaking a discourse that is feminine, feminizing, and metropolitan, which makes it doubly ignorant of the work of real men in the empire. The conservative, on the other hand, respects the cultures of subject peoples despite their differences.

Keywords:   conversion, reversion, Rudyard Kipling, liberal, conservative, Plain Tales

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