of the Workshops"
Rudyard rose to the bait: he resurrected an old India poem (“New Lamps for Old”) as “The Conundrum of the Workshops”, which pointed out that Wilde’s criticism of art (in Dorian Gray) were not new; some devil was always asking, of people’s efforts; ‘It’s clever (or pretty) but is it art ’[A Toilet Club was a barber's shop which, in the 19th centiry, offered reduced charges to clients who paid a regular quarterly or yearly subscription: OED]
With the years, Rudyard’s views on this matter firmed by mid-1891 when he wrote “Tomlinson”, the aesthetic on art view was roundly attacked, and later. in his memoirs, he referred to the ‘suburban Toilet-Club school favoured by the late Mr. Oscar Wilde [Something of Myself, p. 217]
... the shallowness of metropolitan life in contrast to the manly and human values of his favourite soldiers.This point of view is expressed in a number of Kipling's writings, including:
... reflects the literary world he encountered when he came to London, where each man talked of the aims of art, and each in an alien tongue', all, moreover, haunted by the doubt Satan continually insinuates, saying, 'it’s pretty, it’s human, it’s clever “But is it art ?'.Lionel Johnson, writing in the Academy in 1891 and 1892 admires Barrack-Room Ballads, calling this poem: 'A charming satire upon critics and criticism'. [Kipling, The Critical Heritage, Ed. R L Green, p. 103.]
The resolution of the artist’s doubt, is, however, made in “The Story of Ung”, described as ”A Fable for the Criticized” After all, the artist, here a dweller in the Ice Age ‘sees’ in the way a man of action never can. Defiance of critics who want to reduce everything to pattern is declared in “In the Neolithic Age”, which roundly states, in a now well-worn phrase, that:
There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays,