"Who is Kim? And "Why is he Irish?"-This book sheds light on this post-colonial riddle by placing it within a web of colonial analogies which existed to create the British Empire as a 'reality'. It characterises 'Empire' as a discursive battleground in which conflicting and changing models of British hegemony coexisted and were constantly contested.
Starting from the analysis of the Irish characters in Kipling's Indian stories, this book shows that the representation of the British Empire was greatly indebted to analogies and comparisons made between colonies, and as such became the very site where the image of Empire was contested. It contrasts two different ways of making colonial analogies: 'imperialist' and 'nationalist'. Kipling, as a young journalist, was keenly aware of the fact that Indian and Irish nationalists drew analogies between each other's colonial situation to make the case for self-government and British misrule, and his repeated emphasis on Irish participation inthe Raj can be seen as a powerful 'imperialist' counter-representation to these subversive analogies. With this framework in mind, this book traces how Kipling's representation of Empire changed over time as he moved away from India and also has thehegemony of British imperialism faltered toward the end of the nineteenth century.
Kaori Nagai lectures in the School of English at the University of Kent. She is the editor of Kipling's Plain Tales from the Hills and The Jungle Books for Penguin Classics, and has also co-edited Kipling and Beyond: Patriotism, Globalisation and Postcolonialism.