Meeting Without Knowing It: Kipling and Yeats at the Fin de Siecle (Oxford English Monographs)

Meeting Without Knowing It: Kipling and Yeats at the Fin de Siecle (Oxford English Monographs)

By: Alexander Bubb (author)Hardback

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Meeting Without Knowing It compares Rudyard Kipling and W.B. Yeats in the formative phase of their careers, from their births in 1865 up to 1903. The argument consists of parallel readings wed to a biographic structure. Reading the two poets in parallel often yields remarkable discursive echoes. For example, both men were similarly preoccupied with the visual arts, with heroism, with folklore, balladry and the demotic voice. Both struck vatic postures, and made bids for public authority premised on an appeal to what they considered the 'mythopoeic' impulse in fin de siecle culture. My methodology consists in identifying these mutual echoes in their poetry and political rhetoric, before charting them against intersections in their lives. Kipling and Yeats were, for much of their careers, irreconcilable political enemies. However, a cross-reading of the two poets' bardic ambitions, heroic tropes and interpretations of history reveals that, to achieve their opposed political ends, they frequently partook of a common discourse. Supplementing this analysis with biographical context, we can trace these shared concerns to their late 19th century artistic upbringing, and to the closely linked social circles which they inhabited in fin de siecle London. It is, in fact, their very mutuality during the 1890s which lent rancour to their ideological division after the Boer War. In turn, acrimony and denunciation only served to bind together all the more intimately, in an argumentative spiral of revolving discourses, two men who were often proximate but who actually met only in cartoons and satirical gossip.

About Author

Alex Bubb is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at King's College London. His principal interests are in Victorian literature and art, but informed by the European encounter with India. He has published articles on the diaries of Irish soldiers in the colonial armies, and on migrant Indian intellectuals in fin de siecle London. After finishing his doctorate at Oxford, he spent a year working on the archive of a Indian colonial railway contractor held at Linnaeus University, Sweden. He is currently studying the popularization of Middle Eastern and South Asian classics by the mid-Victorian publishing world.


Introduction ; 1. 'We Shall Go Back' Childhoods Lived and Relived ; 2. Returns, 1881-1886 ; 3. Threshold Figures, 1887-1890 ; 4. Arrival: Negotiating the Literary World of Fin de Siecle London ; 5. Plotting and Scheming: Experiments Toward a Modern Mythology ; 6. Authority, 1896-1906 ; Coda ; Appendix: Parallel Chronology ; Bibliography

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780198753872
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 290
  • ID: 9780198753872
  • weight: 456
  • ISBN10: 019875387X

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