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An Anglo-indian's Complaint Post by :smashface Category :Essays Author :Oscar Wilde Date :December 2010 Read :3737

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An Anglo-indian's Complaint

(Times, September 26, 1891.)

To the Editor of the Times.

SIR,--The writer of a letter signed 'An Indian Civilian' that appears in your issue of today makes a statement about me which I beg you to allow me to correct at once.

He says I have described the Anglo-Indians as being vulgar. This is not the case. Indeed, I have never met a vulgar Anglo-Indian. There may be many, but those whom I have had the pleasure of meeting here have been chiefly scholars, men interested in art and thought, men of cultivation; nearly all of them have been exceedingly brilliant talkers; some of them have been exceedingly brilliant writers.

What I did say--I believe in the pages of the Nineteenth Century {158}--was that vulgarity is the distinguishing note of those Anglo-Indians whom Mr. Rudyard Kipling loves to write about, and writes about so cleverly. This is quite true, and there is no reason why Mr. Rudyard Kipling should not select vulgarity as his subject-matter, or as part of it. For a realistic artist, certainly, vulgarity is a most admirable subject. How far Mr. Kipling's stories really mirror Anglo- Indian society I have no idea at all, nor, indeed, am I ever much interested in any correspondence between art and nature. It seems to me a matter of entirely secondary importance. I do not wish, however, that it should be supposed that I was passing a harsh and saugrenu judgment on an important and in many ways distinguished class, when I was merely pointing out the characteristic qualities of some puppets in a prose-play.--I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,

OSCAR WILDE. September 25.

(The end)
Oscar Wilde's essay: Anglo-Indian's Complaint

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