Rudyard Kipling was one of the most popular and prolific British writers and poets and the first English writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, which was given to him for “the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas, and remarkable talent for narration that characterize the creations of this world-famous author”. Highly esteemed in his time, he was later strongly criticised for his jingoism and advocacy of British imperialism; but although considered a controversial writer today, the ‘Bard of the Empire’ remains representative for his age and its mentality, and his power of story-telling stands undisputed. Kipling experimented with language and included the vernacular and dialects in his stories, he played with literary techniques, yet he never neglected suspense as a valuable means of story-telling. His stories circle around human interests, picture colonial life and deal with the point of intersection of Indian/Oriental and British life, culture and mentality. They are packed with adventure, radiate local colour and present sympathetic, sensitive and likable protagonists. In this course we will look at some of his Indian short stories, ghost stories, stories from his famous Jungle Books (familiar to any child due to Disney’s film adaptation), a handful of his ballads, maybe one of his science-fiction stories, a couple of his highly amusing Just So Stories for children and, last but not least, his captivating novel Kim, a tale about a clever Anglo-Indian orphan boy and his friendship with an old, wise Tibetan Lama that grows into an espionage story as it progresses.
Texts for the course will partly be provided via a Semesterapparat, the Lernraum or otherwise. But some of the works you will have to purchase yourselves (see: Literaturangaben). All texts must be read and prepared by the beginning of the seminar.