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Kipling quotation

Posted by Chris on July 02, 2007

In Reply to: Kipling quotation posted by Smokey Stover on July 02, 2007

: : : "Every woman knows all about everything": Rudyard Kipling´s quote. What does it mean when Rudyard Kipling says that?

: : Women are know-it-alls? That would be an insult. Or he could mean that women know about the important things in life -- birth, death and everything inbetween. But that's a guess.

: Kipling was married, and therefore was aware of that simple truth about women. The quote is just the truth. Women DO know all about everything.

: Try these additional quotes about women.
: For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.
: A woman's guess is much more accurate than a man's certainty.
: Take my word for it, the silliest woman can manage a clever man;
: But it takes a very clever woman to manage a fool.

: I didn't find the source of the quotation asked about, but I don't think context would help.
: SS

It's from a short story called "The Eye of Allah", which I haven't read but which is available here:

Context might be helpful inasmuch as the quote appears, at first glance, to be one character's paraphrasing of something said by an unnamed ancient Greek writer, so won't necessarily be an expression of Kipling's personal view.

The enigmatic Rudyard did, however, express what seem to be quite modern views on gender in an earlier work "Mary, Pity Women". This includes a famous line expressing a similar sentiment:

"What's the use o' grievin', when the mother that bore you
(Mary, pity women!) knew it all before you?"

This was clearly an inspiration for Bertolt Brecht who gives Polly Peachum the words:

"Was nutzt all dein Jammer, leih Maria dein Ohr mir, Wenn meine Mutter selbe wusste all dass vor mir" (excuse spelling, I'm not that great at German)

in The Threepenny Opera. The are also clear echoes of 'Mary, Pity Women' in 'Surabaya Johnny' from 'Happy End'.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I must read 'The Eye of Allah' when I get time.