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Re: Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast" vrs. Edward Lucas White's "Lukundoo".
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 29 September, 2020 02:28PM
I'll take your question #2 first. There was, if I'm not mistaken, an idea that if someone died of fright, the image of what he saw could be imprinted on his pupils. What the photo showed was the face that is mentioned briefly, weeping but unable to wipe its tears. That was the last thing Hummil saw, even though it was with the "inner eye."

Now for #1. I don't think there is any indication that Hummil's fate was the consequence of some wrongdoing on his part, but, rather, the desperate conditions under which he was living. Such fates were known to the indigenous people.

In "The Phantom 'Rickshaw" there's a variation on this. Jack, like many another nominally Christian Briton, entered an illicit relationship with a married woman. He was guilty but no more guilty than many another man (or woman). But he found out the relationship he'd indulged in didn't have the tidy wrap-up he would have expected. I was reminded of a passage from a story by Cornell Woolrich (I'm not sure which one):

"I’m not sure how it should be played. No one ever told me. No one ever tells anybody. I only know we must have played it wrong. We broke some rule or other along the way, and never knew it at the time."

One of the remarkable touches in "'Rickshaw" is that, as Jack continues to be pulled out of this world and into the spectral world, he comes to find a kind of consolation in his relationship with the ghost -- of course, we feel horror as we see him, in fact, being destroyed. There is pathos here as well as horror, as in Lovecraft's "Colour Out of Space" where, again, you have the sense of an implacable advancing destruction of the person(ality).

Re: Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast" vrs. Edward Lucas White's "Lukundoo".
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 29 September, 2020 05:18PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'll take your question #2 first. There was, if
> I'm not mistaken, an idea that if someone died of
> fright, the image of what he saw could be
> imprinted on his pupils.

Was that idea conveyed within the context of the story, or was this "common knowledge" that the reader needed to carry into the story?


> What the photo showed
> was the face that is mentioned briefly, weeping
> but unable to wipe its tears. That was the last
> thing Hummil saw, even though it was with the
> "inner eye."

Yes, I recall about the face with tears.

>
> Now for #1. I don't think there is any indication
> that Hummil's fate was the consequence of some
> wrongdoing on his part, but, rather, the desperate
> conditions under which he was living. Such fates
> were known to the indigenous people.

The stated difference from within the story, though, was that the related example had a spell cast on him.

In a way, if Hummil was free of any attributable guilt, the implication is even more profound that India is a *different* place, where noraml things are different beyond the ken of Europeans. As is "Imray" who ran fatallhy afoul of local sensibilities *without even knowing it*.

I've always liked these stories a great deal. He's a great master story teller.

BTW, have you ever read Dunsany's Jorkens stories? These are a great source of entertainment.

>
> In "The Phantom 'Rickshaw" there's a variation on
> this. Jack, like many another nominally Christian
> Briton, entered an illicit relationship with a
> married woman. He was guilty but no more guilty
> than many another man (or woman). But he found
> out the relationship he'd indulged in didn't have
> the tidy wrap-up he would have expected. I was
> reminded of a passage from a story by Cornell
> Woolrich (I'm not sure which one):
>
> "I’m not sure how it should be played. No one
> ever told me. No one ever tells anybody. I only
> know we must have played it wrong. We broke some
> rule or other along the way, and never knew it at
> the time."
>

WHOA! Almost forgot...

I'm not the sort of reader to look for unstated parallel--imputed meanings beyond the directly stated facets of the story, but gosh, "Passage" had the undertone of cholera in it, doesn't it?

I could easily overlook the mentions in the story as simply embellishments to the setting, making the constant threat of foul disease--in this case, cholera--like the heat, the dust, etc.

But gosh, Kipling goes and adds it to the little prologue thingie which ends with mention of "the cholera horn".

Much of Hummil's complaint, if generalized, would apply to the course of cholera: protracted disease with much misery, acquired mysteriously.

I don't actually think the story used his sleeplessness as a surrogate for cholera; why would anyone need to do that? And yet the story devotes four direct mentions of it, counting the prologue; maybe to emphasize that such things as cholera, an awful way to die, was constantly on everyone's minds--as well as the heat, etc. And there was, at the time the story was written,no vaccine or effective treatment.

Just one more thing about India...

Hah!

I'll start on Rickshaw soon. I'm finishing a couple by Le Fanu. Compared to Kipling, his characters are remote, flat. Very good story teller, but nowhere near as vivid as Kipling.

> One of the remarkable touches in "'Rickshaw" is
> that, as Jack continues to be pulled out of this
> world and into the spectral world, he comes to
> find a kind of consolation in his relationship
> with the ghost -- of course, we feel horror as we
> see him, in fact, being destroyed. There is
> pathos here as well as horror, as in Lovecraft's
> "Colour Out of Space" where, again, you have the
> sense of an implacable advancing destruction of
> the person(ality).

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 29 Sep 20 | 05:55PM by Sawfish.

Re: Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast" vrs. Edward Lucas White's "Lukundoo".
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 29 September, 2020 08:18PM
Sawfish, I believe the idea of the image on the pupil was common in Kipling's time. I wouldn't be able to prove that.

I've read perhaps a very few of the Jorkens entertainments. Are there any you think are particularly good?

A book about cholera that sounds interesting:

[www.amazon.com]

I try to reduce my book buying and book borrowing, but you see they keep writing and publishing them!

Re: Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast" vrs. Edward Lucas White's "Lukundoo".
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 29 September, 2020 08:30PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sawfish, I believe the idea of the image on the
> pupil was common in Kipling's time. I wouldn't be
> able to prove that.

No, not meeded.

It was something in his era that his expected audience would know, but in the 21st C less likely so.

It's just something for me to remember ad allow for.

>
> I've read perhaps a very few of the Jorkens
> entertainments. Are there any you think are
> particularly good?

All I can say is that I've read all of them, and there are probably in excess of 100.

Light entertainment, witty, can make you laugh aloud, and some are fantasy. Thye may have been the inspiration for the "bar fantasy" sub-genre, like Clarke's "Tales From the White Hart"--themselves amusing and clubby.

>
> A book about cholera that sounds interesting:
>
> [www.amazon.com]
> g-Epidemic/dp/1594482691/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywo
> rds=cholera&qid=1601424932&s=books&sr=1-5
>
> I try to reduce my book buying and book borrowing,
> but you see they keep writing and publishing them!

Hah!

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast" vrs. Edward Lucas White's "Lukundoo".
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 30 September, 2020 11:44AM
Much of the popular fiction and even the children's books of the previous century would benefit by good, brief editorial notes.

Re: Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast" vrs. Edward Lucas White's "Lukundoo".
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 30 September, 2020 11:52AM
OK, ready to discuss Rickshaw.

All below...

Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'll take your question #2 first. There was, if
> I'm not mistaken, an idea that if someone died of
> fright, the image of what he saw could be
> imprinted on his pupils. What the photo showed
> was the face that is mentioned briefly, weeping
> but unable to wipe its tears. That was the last
> thing Hummil saw, even though it was with the
> "inner eye."
>
> Now for #1. I don't think there is any indication
> that Hummil's fate was the consequence of some
> wrongdoing on his part, but, rather, the desperate
> conditions under which he was living. Such fates
> were known to the indigenous people.
>
> In "The Phantom 'Rickshaw" there's a variation on
> this. Jack, like many another nominally Christian
> Briton, entered an illicit relationship with a
> married woman. He was guilty but no more guilty
> than many another man (or woman). But he found
> out the relationship he'd indulged in didn't have
> the tidy wrap-up he would have expected. I was
> reminded of a passage from a story by Cornell
> Woolrich (I'm not sure which one):
>
> "I’m not sure how it should be played. No one
> ever told me. No one ever tells anybody. I only
> know we must have played it wrong. We broke some
> rule or other along the way, and never knew it at
> the time."
>
> One of the remarkable touches in "'Rickshaw" is
> that, as Jack continues to be pulled out of this
> world and into the spectral world, he comes to
> find a kind of consolation in his relationship
> with the ghost -- of course, we feel horror as we
> see him, in fact, being destroyed. There is
> pathos here as well as horror, as in Lovecraft's
> "Colour Out of Space" where, again, you have the
> sense of an implacable advancing destruction of
> the person(ality).

I think this story shows Kipling to be both a masterful writer in that he establishes setting and creates distinct and subtly developed characters with ease and great skill, but he also seems to be ready to manipulate, or at least "fudge", the plot to drive the resolution toward his intended conclusion.

We're back in India, this time in Simla, where the climate is more to the liking of the British. This creates a sort of society that includes more women, and this being a British outpost, more decorum.

(ASIDE: This setting, and in fact the character of Jack Pansay, as self-described in his manuscript, is very similar to the hero of the George MacDonald Fraser "Flashman" series, with Fraser's Indian novel also seemingly influenced by Kipling. The main difference between Pansay and Flashman are that Flashman is of the gentry, in the military, and completely unapologetic...he willingly seduces any number of married women, entirely without regret.)

So we have what amounts to a lengthy introduction to the specific narrative, and this "frame narrator" is unidentified and could well be Kipling, himself. You'll note a sort of literary "breaking of the fourth wall" where he alludes to his own writing style (the "mixed metaphors" reference), then describes the doctor who figures in the tale, and reveals the manuscript by Pansay, himself.

So Kipling uses the frame narrator to directly tell the reader what life is like in Simla, and in keeping with the intransigent materialism of the educated Victorian English, introduces the idea that this story of the supernatural might be a product of over-work and/or climate and social conditions.

So early on Pansay admits to a brief but passionate affair with a married women on shipboard, on the way back to India; we never know if it was carnally consummated, but I sorta doubt it. He callously breaks it off just before arrival and then sees her in Simla, where he apparently works.

Kipling establishes a tremendous amount of pathos for this submissive, masochistic woman--who has insufficient self-pride to simply kick Pansay in the nards, like he deserves, and be done with it, so she pines away, pathetically, until she simply dies. I'm not sure we ever have any direct mention of her husband, who seems to be a disinterested, uninvolved non-entity.

All this seems almost uniquely Victorian.

Concurrently Pansay is seriously courting, to the point of formal engagement, another young woman, this one of significant mettle, as it turns out--the antithesis of the married woman.

So now to get down to it, Pansay starts seeing the married woman, riding around in her hired rickshaw, and she calls to him plaintively, evoking both guilt and disgust in Pansay. This causes him to act weird enough that his fiancée first questions him sharply--and to me, this part is *significant* as subtle character development and as an insight into upper class British domestic customs--and he responds by basically lying to her.

So we see by this, and at least one other reference by another very minor character, the dominant domestic role of married females, and the petty lying to appease them.

A sad way to run one's life, but..

All this falls thru, she dumps him, he goes about his business still seeing--and talking to--the married woman in the rickshaw, which only he can see, and eventually died prematurely, "hag-ridden".

There is the *distinct* possibility that the entire apparition is the figment of his guilty conscience--a materialistically compatible explanation. This makes it much more than a simple ghost story.

The plot manipulation, to me, is the coincidence of the doctor as being one of the witnesses of his talking to the phantom, and later that evening meeting him at dinner. This allows the doctor to become involved as a man of science--an observer--and a sounding board for Pansay's character and ideas. The doctor, himself, is pretty bluff, overbearing, and officious, but all towards a good cause: getting Pansay healthy again.

The doctor, too, is a well defined character, although somewhat stereotypical of the way academics of any stripe, including scientists and physicians, seems to be held in respectful awe by everyone one else. This, too, seems yet another example of the tension between the material and spiritual that seemed to reach its height in the time period.

Your thoughts/ideas?

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 30 Sep 20 | 11:56AM by Sawfish.

Re: Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast" vrs. Edward Lucas White's "Lukundoo".
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 30 September, 2020 02:41PM
I think Jack and Mrs. Keith-Wessington were, at least once, lovers in the physical sense. Towards the end Pansay refers to her as "my dead and buried mistress." "Mistress," to be sure, can be used in more innocent ways, but by this point in the story Jack has stopped writing of her as he does early (she's the one at fault, etc.) and is admitting his culpability. In the background of the story might be the verse from 1 Corinthians 6, "What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh." Pansay might have thought that when he got what he wanted from his shipboard flame, by saying he loved her, it was a case of "Wham, bam, thank you ma'am" and that's it," but it wasn't.

Btw Kipling was never graphic, but he was frank about sexuality. There's a good story about a man dying of advanced syphilis, for example ("LOve o' Women").

[www.kiplingsociety.co.uk]

Re: Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast" vrs. Edward Lucas White's "Lukundoo".
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 30 September, 2020 02:48PM
"'Rickshaw" is well constructed. Basically Jack has to undergo a parallel to his lover's experience. For example, when she won't leave him alone, he says something so obscene that it hits her "like the blow of a whip." Later in the story, the lively Kitty gives Jack a slash across the face with her riding-whip.

Even late in the story, he cries that he "'never did her any harm.'" Of course, in an all but literal sense, he killed her, and her apparition effects his death. Before that happens, the "real world" has become ghostly and the ghost-world has become real to him. But just before he dies, he admits, "as surely as ever woman was killed by man, I killed Mrs. Wessington."

The nemesis-element is like Greek tragedy. Pansay cannot escape death, but he does gain knowledge, like Oedipus.

I think this is one of the world's best supernatural stories, a true masterpiece of the macabre. "...the dead travel fast"!

When we're ready, let's keep the Kipling ball rolling with "'They,'" shall we?

Here are notes for as/after reading it.

[www.kiplingsociety.co.uk]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 30 Sep 20 | 02:51PM by Dale Nelson.

Re: Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast" vrs. Edward Lucas White's "Lukundoo".
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 30 September, 2020 03:10PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I think Jack and Mrs. Keith-Wessington were, at
> least once, lovers in the physical sense. Towards
> the end Pansay refers to her as "my dead and
> buried mistress." "Mistress," to be sure, can be
> used in more innocent ways, but by this point in
> the story Jack has stopped writing of her as he
> does early (she's the one at fault, etc.) and is
> admitting his culpability.

Yes. This makes sense to me, accounting for both her extreme attachment and his fatigue.

And all this happened in a relatively short time--on board ship, if I got it right--so it reads like a very quick but passionate physical fling.

> In the background of
> the story might be the verse from 1 Corinthians 6,
> "What? know ye not that he which is joined to an
> harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be
> one flesh." Pansay might have thought that when
> he got what he wanted from his shipboard flame, by
> saying he loved her, it was a case of "Wham, bam,
> thank you ma'am" and that's it," but it wasn't.

Yes, the more you point this out, the more likely it seems.

He is a roguish cad, after all... ;^)

>
> Btw Kipling was never graphic, but he was frank
> about sexuality. There's a good story about a man
> dying of advanced syphilis, for example ("LOve o'
> Women").
>
> [www.kiplingsociety.co.uk]
> s.htm

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast" vrs. Edward Lucas White's "Lukundoo".
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 30 September, 2020 03:13PM
Yes, will start "They" soon.

Good fun!

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast" vrs. Edward Lucas White's "Lukundoo".
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 30 September, 2020 03:25PM
One more point: this is much more than a ghost story, in my opinion. It's social commentary, a sort of an examination of contrasting characters, and again, I want to emphasize that so far as I recall, the was no independent manifestation of the rickshaw, its power source, nor its occupant. This differs from Passage (the image in Hummil's pupil seen by the doctor and one other) and Imray, which was pretty much told from the POV of uninvolved observers.

This, alone, plays with the reader's imagination in a way different from the other two.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast" vrs. Edward Lucas White's "Lukundoo".
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 30 September, 2020 05:13PM
Whatever readers think of "'They,'" they're more resistant to Kipling's descriptive details than I if they don't fall in love with the house.

After "'They,'" I propose "Wireless," and then -- could we have a go at "Mrs. Bathurst"? That one is notorious in the canon of Kipling's stories, for an aspect that I won't spell out (no, not colonial attitudes, etc.).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 30 Sep 20 | 05:30PM by Dale Nelson.

Re: Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast" vrs. Edward Lucas White's "Lukundoo".
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 30 September, 2020 07:26PM
I'm having trouble finding a copy of "They", and while I certainly don't mind departing from CAS--especially in pursuit of good discussions!--I don't wish to commit beyond any one story, or two if paired thematically for comparison.

A bit too much like a class syllabus for my liking.

Do you know of any place online that has a copy of "They"?

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast" vrs. Edward Lucas White's "Lukundoo".
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 30 September, 2020 09:50PM
It is in Kipling's Traffics and Discoveries.

[www.gutenberg.org]

Re: Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast" vrs. Edward Lucas White's "Lukundoo".
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 30 September, 2020 09:54PM
Thanks, Dale!

There'll be a moderate delay; I just fixed my Kindle and find that I have Pynchon's Inherent Vice checked out from the library. Never read any Pynchon before and so I must plow thru it while I still have it.

I won't forget, though!

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 30 Sep 20 | 09:55PM by Sawfish.

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