Language and understanding in Rudyard Kipling's Thy Servant a Dog

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This article argues for a critical revaluation of one of Kipling's most popular but least regarded works. Thy Servant a Dog, a volume of three stories whose narrator is an Aberdeen terrier, raises fascinating questions about the nature of human and animal language. The article suggests that the supposedly 'primitive' English in which the stories are told is neither sentimental nor condescending; it constitutes a sophisticated device by which Kipling explores not just the limitations of the dog's understanding of the human world, but the equal and opposite limitations of human understanding of the dog's world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-19
Number of pages11
JournalKipling Journal
Issue number374
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Rudyard Kipling
  • animal language
  • Thy Servant a Dog


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