Utz Publishes Essay on Kipling’s Medievalist Imagination

Richard Utz, Ivan Allen College

Posted May 20, 2022

Richard Utz, professor of medievalism studies in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication and associate dean for faculty development in Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, recently published an essay in Studies in Medievalism.

In the essay, titled "Writing, Men, Empire: Kipling’s Medievalist Imagination," Utz analyzes examples from Rudyard Kipling's (1865—1936) poetry and prose. Through this examination, Utz argues that Kipling invented a masculinist medieval past to sway his largely young adult readership in defense of England’s imperialist agenda. 

“Numerous authors, artists, and politicians adhering to and reaffirming continuist British medievalism were attracted to the medieval past because it offered a safe alternative to the revolutionary political and cultural change in other countries’ paths to modernity,” Utz writes. “The omnipresent recourse to premodern ideals, models, and themes in Rudyard Kipling’s oeuvre reveals how he applied his own writerly craft in the service of maintaining a conservative ideal of Britain, one that would resist change to traditional gender roles, governance, and imperialist supremacy.”

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Cassidy Chreene Whittle