by John McGivering)
|notes on the text|
…the trouble with the war is not that both sides are wrong, but from their different standpoints both sides are right.Theodore Roosevelt was later President of the United States. Kipling knew and admired him, and marked his death with the poem “Greatheart” See page 8, line 19 below, and Something of Myself, p. 121 passim.
[The South African War ed. Peter Warwick, (Longmans, 1980, p. 317]
...one of Rudyard’s most sophisticated, most thoroughly elaborate, stories packed with allusion and technicality, and making no concession to the casual reader.Angus Wilson, however, observes (p.220) that:
...the story has been highly praised, but here we are confronted with all the growing faults of Kipling’s later work – over-technical language, too elaborate a framework of narration – and there is none of the compensating depth that makes the best of his later stories so fine. He starts with a splendidly visual opening picture of a prisoner-of-war camp by the Cape seaside, but this is all swallowed up in the story of an American enlisted on the Boer side and how he learns that he has been wrong.Andrew Lycett, on the other hand, says (p. 358):
Even in the more prosaic stories, such as “The Captive”, the influence of Rudyard’s nagging daemon can be sensed, pushing him to create a work that is not so much conventional but metaphysical history.The present Editor has always regarded this as a rattling good yarn even though he cannot recall when he first read it – probably in his schooldays before he had heard of metaphysics.