In compiling these notes I have drawn heavily on the ORG notes edited by R C Harbord and published in 1970, where it seemed relevant to do so to enhance understanding of the novel in the 21st Century. However, I could not hope to emulate the depth of research and scholarship of Reginald Harbord and his colleagues. We are greatly indebted to them for their 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