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Departmental Ditties & Barrack Room Ballads

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For the modern reader of Kipling's Barrack-Room Ballads - among the most enduringly popular poems ever published in England - some explanation of their contemporary expressions and allusions and their military context is necessary if he is to appreciate them in their full glory. John Whitehead, critic and biographer who himself served with the Indian Army in Burma, has pro For the modern reader of Kipling's Barrack-Room Ballads - among the most enduringly popular poems ever published in England - some explanation of their contemporary expressions and allusions and their military context is necessary if he is to appreciate them in their full glory. John Whitehead, critic and biographer who himself served with the Indian Army in Burma, has provided this in full measure in his entertaining and scholarly Introduction and comprehensive textual Notes. This Centenary Edition of the ballads is unlikely ever to be superseded.


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For the modern reader of Kipling's Barrack-Room Ballads - among the most enduringly popular poems ever published in England - some explanation of their contemporary expressions and allusions and their military context is necessary if he is to appreciate them in their full glory. John Whitehead, critic and biographer who himself served with the Indian Army in Burma, has pro For the modern reader of Kipling's Barrack-Room Ballads - among the most enduringly popular poems ever published in England - some explanation of their contemporary expressions and allusions and their military context is necessary if he is to appreciate them in their full glory. John Whitehead, critic and biographer who himself served with the Indian Army in Burma, has provided this in full measure in his entertaining and scholarly Introduction and comprehensive textual Notes. This Centenary Edition of the ballads is unlikely ever to be superseded.

30 review for Departmental Ditties & Barrack Room Ballads

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chris Purser

    surprisingly fun collection of poems, many about the foils of bureaucracy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, though agree with the GR description that suggests that a modern reader benefits from some notes and explanations. I wish someone would read this for librivox. The collection would be most excellent read aloud in a proper British or Scottish accent. In any event, I'm glad to have been pushed to read some poetry from this era by a group here because I'd never have picked this up on my own. surprisingly fun collection of poems, many about the foils of bureaucracy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, though agree with the GR description that suggests that a modern reader benefits from some notes and explanations. I wish someone would read this for librivox. The collection would be most excellent read aloud in a proper British or Scottish accent. In any event, I'm glad to have been pushed to read some poetry from this era by a group here because I'd never have picked this up on my own. I read these in small spurts during lunch hours and hold times on phone calls and other such moments. I don't think I would have wanted to sit down and read this from cover to cover as it might have gotten overly repetitive that way.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jayne Cravens

    I never expected to like these as much as I have. I read this because I didn't have anything else to read at the time - it's in a volume in a set of books published by Blacks Reader Service Company that you see for sale at garage sales all the time, and it's my go-to for "welp, this is famous, might as well finally read it" moments. I'm a veteran of administration in foreign lands, and, wow, when it comes to silly bureaucracy, not much has changed since Kipling's time. The verses are so clever, I never expected to like these as much as I have. I read this because I didn't have anything else to read at the time - it's in a volume in a set of books published by Blacks Reader Service Company that you see for sale at garage sales all the time, and it's my go-to for "welp, this is famous, might as well finally read it" moments. I'm a veteran of administration in foreign lands, and, wow, when it comes to silly bureaucracy, not much has changed since Kipling's time. The verses are so clever, the descriptions of scenes, even just going down a road or sitting in a room, are so rich - you see the surroundings, you hear them, you smell them. That he can make me laugh about paperwork 100 years later is a testament to his incredible wit. Yes, Kipling was a racist, expressed mostly through his colonialism, but I'm surprised no one ever mentions the far, far more common sexism - he did not at all think much of women. Neither did most men of this time (and now?). But I can acknowledge the racism and sexism and still enjoy the heck out of the works - you know, like enjoying The Ride of the Valkyrie while also knowing (and hating) Wagner's racism. My favorite? "My Rival," one of his only stories devoted entirely to women, and it is so delightful I've read it probably half a dozen times already. I may memorize it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mark Isaak

    A lot of Kipling's vocabulary is particular to British soldiers in India. A lot of his poems are written in dialect. Both practices give his poems authenticity but make them harder to read. The poems in this collection are a mixed bag. A few are great, more are so-so but have some brilliant lines in them, and others are forgettable. A lot of Kipling's vocabulary is particular to British soldiers in India. A lot of his poems are written in dialect. Both practices give his poems authenticity but make them harder to read. The poems in this collection are a mixed bag. A few are great, more are so-so but have some brilliant lines in them, and others are forgettable.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    For we all love the screw guns!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Ogden

    Lots of interesting British words. Accounts from the British military involvement in India. Includes the poem Gunga Din. Fun to read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

    A surprisingly fun collection of poems, many about the foils of bureaucracy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, though agree with the GR description that suggests that a modern reader benefits from some notes and explanations. I wish someone would read this for librivox. The collection would be most excellent read aloud in a proper British or Scottish accent. In any event, I'm glad to have been pushed to read some poetry from this era by a group here because I'd never have picked this up on my own. A surprisingly fun collection of poems, many about the foils of bureaucracy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, though agree with the GR description that suggests that a modern reader benefits from some notes and explanations. I wish someone would read this for librivox. The collection would be most excellent read aloud in a proper British or Scottish accent. In any event, I'm glad to have been pushed to read some poetry from this era by a group here because I'd never have picked this up on my own. I read these in small spurts during lunch hours and hold times on phone calls and other such moments. I don't think I would have wanted to sit down and read this from cover to cover as it might have gotten overly repetitive that way.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chuck

    Some of his best. Ballad of east and west, Gunga Din, Mandalay, what's not to like? Kipling said he wrote his poems to the rhythms of English dancehall music (as did McCartney & Lennon decades later). Even today you can hear the music behind the prose, if you listen. He'd have made a hell of a lyricist had he gone that way. Some of his best. Ballad of east and west, Gunga Din, Mandalay, what's not to like? Kipling said he wrote his poems to the rhythms of English dancehall music (as did McCartney & Lennon decades later). Even today you can hear the music behind the prose, if you listen. He'd have made a hell of a lyricist had he gone that way.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Some of these were really impressive, in terms of telling a story within a rigid meter structure. Others extremely difficult to understand either because of obscure references (though then contemporary) or use of dialect.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Patrick DiJusto

    Kipling is the poet laureate of British Imperialism, or so they say. Of course, the reality is a little more complicated than that -- first and foremost, Kipling is on the side of the humble soldier who maintains the Empire, not the politicians who created and expanded it in the first place.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    I have a 1913 Doubleday edition and no doubt would benefit a great deal from notes and expansive explanations. There are places where I can get into the rhythm but I'm not even sure I'm mentally making the right sounds for a Scots-English accent. I have a 1913 Doubleday edition and no doubt would benefit a great deal from notes and expansive explanations. There are places where I can get into the rhythm but I'm not even sure I'm mentally making the right sounds for a Scots-English accent.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andy

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michaela Negus

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Walsh

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeannette

  15. 5 out of 5

    M.P. Mulligan

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Walker

  17. 4 out of 5

    Will Mercier

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael Lloyd-Billington

  19. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Hacker

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bev

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Stice

  22. 4 out of 5

    Liv

  23. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Martin

  24. 4 out of 5

    Steven Sohn

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lee Merrill

  26. 5 out of 5

    James Burns

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Helton

    I am not sure this is the exact version that I have. Mine is a 1906 hardback with a picture of a viking longboat on the cover. I really like Kipling's poetry. Some of my favorites are "Mandalay," "Gunga Din," "Tommy," and "Danny Deever." This is stern, sometimes hard and unflinching, but it tells it like it was to be a British soldier serving in India during the Raj. I am not sure this is the exact version that I have. Mine is a 1906 hardback with a picture of a viking longboat on the cover. I really like Kipling's poetry. Some of my favorites are "Mandalay," "Gunga Din," "Tommy," and "Danny Deever." This is stern, sometimes hard and unflinching, but it tells it like it was to be a British soldier serving in India during the Raj.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Helen

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lagullande

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey

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