Plain Tales from the Hills, Rudyard Kipling's first collection of short stories, established his reputation and brought India to the British imagination. Including the stories 'Lispeth', 'Beyond the Pale' and 'In the Pride of His Youth', they tell of soldiers, wise children, exiles, forbidden romances and divided identities, creating a rich portrait of Anglo-Indian society. Originally published for a newspaper in Lahore when Kipling was a journalist, the tales were later revised by him to re-create as vividly as possible the sights and smells of India for readers at home. Far from being a celebration of empire, these stories explore the barriers between races, classes and sexes, and convey all the tensions and contradictions of colonial life.
RUDYARD KIPLING was born in Bombay in 1865. In 1882 Kipling started work as a journalist in India, and while there produced a body of work, stories, sketches and poems - notably Plain Tales from the Hills (1888) - which made him an instant literary celebrity when he returned to England in 1889. His most famous works include The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901) and the Just So Stories (1902). Kipling refused to accept the role of Poet Laureate and other civil honours, but he was the first English writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize, in 1907. He died in 1936. JAN MONTEFIOIRE was born in 1948 and educated at Oxford. Since 1978 she has taught at the University of Kent, where she is now Professor of 20th Century English Literature. She is the author of Men and Women Writers of the 1930s (1996); Arguments of Heart and Mind:Selected Essays 1977-2000 (2002); Feminism and Poetry (3rd edition, 2004); and Rudyard Kipling (2007). She lives in Canterbury. KAORI NAGAI is a Research Associate at the University of Kent and author of Empire of Analogies (2006). She has also written the introduction to Kobo Abe's Face of Another for Modern Classics.