“If” by Rudyard Kipling and “The Interlopers” by Saki


“You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.”

-Hemmingway, The Sun Also Rises


“If” by Rudyard Kipling [text read from Poetry Foundation]

Kipling is a fascinating figure in late Victorian literature. He was born in India, then a British colony, and lived there for his first five years. Later sent to board in England, he spent many years in Britain as a school boy. Kipling returned to India and began working as a journalist, rather than attending University.

As he became established and built an audience as a popular author, he moved to London to continue his writing career. India and England were not his only homes. When Kipling married a woman from the states, he moved with her to Vermont.

Many of Kipling’s works are influenced by place – the flavor, traditions, and customs of places he lived or visited. For more on Kipling, may I suggest reading Just So Stories, a collection for children meant to be read out loud. There’s also a collection called Letters of Rudyard Kipling that sheds light on the author’s thoughts and influences. (From Sea to Sea: Letters of Travel is the first volume and is available for free.)


Short Story:
“The Interlopers” by Saki [text read from Gutenberg.org]

Saki, whose “real life” name is Hector Hugh Monro, was influenced by the work of Rudyard Kipling. He was born in what was then known as British Burma, the son of a British law enforcement officer. His mother died when he was young and Saki was raised by his grandmother and aunts back in Britain.

As an adult, Saki followed in his father’s footsteps and worked a stint in Burma as a law enforcement officer. After catching malaria, he returned to England and began writing. He worked as a journalist on several national newspapers and eventually published a book about the rise of the Russian Empire.

Saki’s short stories are a contrast to the many rules and conventions of high society in his time. They often feature Nature as a prominent, and ruthless, character. The short stories are often dark or disturbing, designed to challenge what Saki saw as the hypocrisies of Edwardian England.

For more by Saki, grab a collection of short stories, which are available in the public domain. An interesting longer work is the book When William Came (free ebook), which was written right before WWI and describes an alternate universe where a German emperor takes over the world. You should also watch Alfred Hitchcock’s take on Saki’s “The Schartz-Metterklume Method” from 1960.


Opening music: “Gypsy Swing Ting” from Little Dark One via SoundCloud [Creative Commons Commercial-Attribution License]

Other music: “Gypsy Honey Trio” by Fingerstyle_guitar via SoundCloud [Creative Commons Commercial-Attribution License]

Episode 4: “The Interlopers”
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