Pigs, Serpents, Cannibals, Bats and Bees

  • Nora Crook


Each of the five tales discussed in this chapter ‘hooks on’, to use Tompkins’s term, to one or more of the tales which form the staple of the argument in Chapters 4–7. To give just a few instances: ‘Pig’ is a ‘metagrobolisation’ of the hunting-of-the-beast-in-man theme to be found in Swinburne’s Atalanta in Calydon; ‘A Matter of Fact’, like ‘Mary Postgate’, calls into question the status of ‘fact’ and is about the ‘awful orderliness of England’; ‘A Deal in Cotton’ contains a creator-destroyer Madonna figure, of which ‘Mary Postgate’ and ‘A Madonna of the Trenches’ supply darker variants, and shares with ‘Mrs Bathurst’ an African heart-of-darkness locale; ‘The Village that Voted the Earth was Flat’ contains the dual Peri-Hecate and ‘Village of the Dead’ motifs, which both figure in ‘The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes’; and ‘The Vortex’ is, like ‘Mrs Bathurst’, a revelation of the inferno that lies underneath the pleasant landscape of normal existence.


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  1. 10.
    Philip Mason, Kipling: The Glass, the Shadow and the Fire ( London: Jonathan Cape, 1975 ) p. 211;Google Scholar
  2. 30.
    See Nina Auerbach, Woman and the Demon (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982) for a detailed treatment of the mythic power of the Victorian victim woman.Google Scholar

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© Nora Crook 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nora Crook
    • 1
  1. 1.Cambridgeshire College of Arts and TechnologyUK

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