The Light that Failed

A Note from the Editor

by Geoffrey Annis


[Jan 7 2006]

This Guide is compiled on the premise that The Light That Failed is a work of literature,and that any notes should support analytical commentary in illuminating text and enhancing understanding.

I have, therefore, modified, deleted, expanded on or supplemented the ORG Notes where it seemed relevant to do so, with that in mind. However, I could not hope to emulate Mr R G Harbord’s depth of research and scholarship, and I am indebted to him and his invaluable and meticulous work.

In reading his original notes and reflecting on my own, I was struck with renewed admiration by the quantity and scope of Kipling’s cross-referential detail and his allusions - historical, military, artistic, geographical, literary and Biblical - how skilfully they are woven into the text, and how they define his style. These alone reveal a sophisticated creative mind, as well as the consummate craftsman we know him to be.

In addition, the ‘Heading’ poems, as always with Kipling, comment on and enrich narrative and theme in a variety of subtle ways.


Geoffrey Annis, November 7th 2006