Friday, March 4, 2011
Classic Lit: The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling
This story falls under the category of "lost world" or "lost race" fiction. Kafiristan is inhabited by whites who have a forgotten history of Masonic lore (that was probably the most interesting, and strangest, part of the story). I was actually rather disappointed after finishing The Man Who Would Be King. It seemed to be just a variation on King Solomon's Mines (H. Rider Haggard, 1885), and a really short one at that. Kipling would actually have made the story more interesting if he had stretched it out, given more details of Dravot and Carnehan's journey and experiences. I was surprised at how short it was and how little I got from reading it.
My copy of The Man Who Would Be King is the Signet edition of 1975, which I obtained from my parents' bookshelf. The story was originally published in Kipling's 1888 collection The Phantom Rickshaw and Other Eerie Tales.