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    Imagining enlightenment : Buddhism and Kipling's Kim

    Paskins, Susan Karin (2017) Imagining enlightenment : Buddhism and Kipling's Kim. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    In this thesis I situate Kipling’s shaping of Buddhist ideas in Kim against the background of Victorian constructions of the religion, deriving from scholarly, popular, Christian and theosophical positions. Kipling’s presentation of the lama in Kim challenges many of these interpretations since Kipling fashions himself as one who ‘knows’ about Buddhism, just as he claims to be one of the ‘native-born’ who understands India. I trace Kipling’s hostility to the missionary endeavour and also show his deep-rooted antagonism to theosophy, as manifest in three of his short stories as well as in Kim. Comparing Kim and The Light that Failed, I show that both novels deal with Kipling’s childhood experiences in Southsea, the one imagining the adult he could have been, and the other a fantasy of what life could have been like had he stayed in India and fully immersed himself in its religious life. Kipling’s biographical self-positioning thus motivates various degrees of resistance to and recrafting of the Victorian construction of Buddhism. The thesis presents a reading of Kim in which consideration of its religious ideas takes precedence over the post-colonialist analysis that has dominated critical approaches to the novel in recent decades.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Additional Information: The full version of thesis is not currently available for public use
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2017 12:29
    Last Modified: 15 Jun 2021 18:29


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