The Man Who Would be King : and Other Stories, Paperback Book

The Man Who Would be King : and Other Stories Paperback

Edited by Louis L. Cornell

Part of the Oxford World's Classics series

2.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


This collection brings together seventeen of Kipling's early stories, written between 1885 and 1888, when Kipling was working as a journalist in India.

Wry comedies of British officialdom alternate with glimpses into the harsh lives of the common soldiers and the Indian poor, revealing Kipling's legendary powers of observation and, in 'Baa Baa, Black Sheep' his own miserable childhood. From Mrs Hauksbee's Simla drawing-room to Mulvaney's cot in barracks, to the wild hills of Kafiristan, Kipling re-creates the India he knew in stories by turns ironic and sentimental, compassionate and bitter, displaying the brilliance that has captivated readers for over a century.

ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe.

Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Short stories
  • ISBN: 9780199536474

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

It's a difficult book for me. I did't - couldn't - read all the short stories here. They are too subtle and written in too complex a language. But what I did read, I did experience an unique writing style worth savouring.

Review by

Not having visited a newsroom yet myself, I don’t know how accurate Kipling’s description of the Bombay Mail at the opening of The Man who would be King is, but it’s exactly how I’ve always imagined, understandable given the author was working as a journalist in India when writing these stories. Evocatively expressed between semi-colons, this is a disorganised chaos of humanity working against the odds in a barely comfortable, stiflingly humid atmosphere, to produce a coherent message or at the very least fill a newspaper's columns with informative content from some mostly reputable sources. Kipling’s style is an acquired taste, as messy but flavoursome as the cuisine of the country he’s evoking, only really gaining momentum in those stories with a vivid, psychologically challenging idea like The Haunted Rickshaw or At Twenty-Two, in which a mining disaster inspired by Emile Zola’s Germinal is transposed to Kipling's country of origin.

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