Rudyard Kipling and Victorian Buddhism
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The thesis recontextualises the fiction of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century writer Rudyard Kipling by exploring aspects of Victorian Buddhism in a selection of his published work. It demonstrates his engagement with a variety of Buddhist histories and cultures, showing a serious artistic and imaginative response to and interpretation of Buddhism. Focusing primarily on the novel Kim, the thesis develops existing criticism, examining the character of the lama. Additionally, it studies features of Victorian Buddhism other than textual sources, drawing on work by scholars in fields such as the history of art and the history of religion. As well as considering varied Buddhist elements in Kim, the thesis examines the theme of the survival of the soul, situating short stories from various periods of Kipling’s writing life in the context of scholarly debates about Nirvana and reincarnation. Attention is also given to critically neglected travel writing from the Letters of Marque series written for periodical publication. Kipling’s work is shown to be deeply concerned with and sympathetic to Buddhism and Buddhist cultures.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: Electronic copy restricted until 26th April 2018
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations
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