Books: The Light That Triumphed

KIPLING: THE GLASS, THE SHADOW

by PHILIP MASON

334 pages. Harper & Row, $8.95.

Literary revisionists seem to retouch their portraits with the blackest of ink. Charles Dickens and Robert Frost are among those who have appeared as conspicuously darker souls to their later readers. Once upon a time Rudyard Kipling was adored as the bully-boy balladeer of the British Empire, a hearty fellow whose prose as well as his poetry thumped as cheerfully as a barroom song—when, that is, he wasn't spinning animal tales for children. Then, in a famous essay, The Kipling...

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