27 SEPTEMBER 2003, Page 40

Kipling and the Bloornsbenies

From Richard Shone Sir; I look at any mention of the word 'Bloomsbury' with suspicion, especially in The Spectator. Paul Johnson attributes the savaging of Kipling's reputation to 'the Bloomsbury and academic pack (And another thing, 13 September). What does he mean? Lytton Strachey thought him an extremely good poet. Virginia Woolf ranked him, in an essay published in Kipling's lifetime, as 'a great writer'. Leonard Woolf admired him and was influenced by him in his early fiction. And I can remember Duncan Grant's great enjoyment when reading Kipling's short stories. Doesn't this evidence suggest quite the opposite of Mr Johnson's hasty little accusation? But perhaps he is talking about quite another Bloomsbury.

Richard Shone

London SW!