If Criticism

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"If" is perhaps Kipling's most famous poem. Originally published as a part of the children's book Rewards and Fairies, it gained immediate popularity as an independent piece, becoming a sort of inspirational anthem whose popularity endures into the twenty-first century, almost to the point of becoming a cliché.

The poem itself is not the specific subject of significant literary criticism; however, Kipling himself has been the subject of scores of criticism since he began publishing in his early twenties. His receipt of the Nobel Prize in 1907, while met with wide approval from the general readership with which he was immensely popular, was met with dismay by the literary world: he was perceived by the literary establishment of his time as a writer of verse, rather than of poetry; the simple style of much of his prose was considered little more than entertaining; and many found the blunt...

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This section contains 549 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the If Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
If from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.