Rudyard Kipling

English short-story writer, novelist and poet, remembered for his celebration of British imperialism and heroism in India and Burma. Kipling was the first Englishman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature (1907). His most popular works include THE JUNGLE BOOK (1894) and the JUST SO STORIES (1902), a collection of tales about how animals came to be the way they are today.

Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India, where his father was an arts and crafts teacher at the Jeejeebhoy School of Art. His mother was a sister-in-law of the painter Edward Burne-Jones. India was at that time ruled by the British.

Kipling’s writings at the age of thirteen were influenced by the pre-Raphaelites. At the age of six he was taken to England by his parents and left for five years at a foster home at Southsea. His unhappiness at the unkind treatment he received was later expressed in the short story ‘Baa Baa, Black Sheep’, in the novel THE LIGHT THAT FAILED (1890), and in his autobiography (1937).

In 1878 Kipling entered United Services College, a boarding school in North Devon. It was an expensive institution that specialized in training for entry into military academies. His poor eyesight and mediocre results as a student ended hopes about military career. However, these years Kipling recalled in lighter tone in one of his most popular books, STALKY & CO (1899).

Kipling returned to India in 1882, where he worked as a journalist in Lahore for Civil and Military Gazette (1882-87) and an assistant editor and overseas correspondent in Allahabad for Pioneer (1887-89). The stories written during his last two years in India were collected in THE PHANTOM RICKSHAW. It that included the famous story ‘The Man Who Would Be a King.’ In the story a white trader, Daniel Dravot sets himself up as a god and king in Kafristan, but a woman discovers that he is a human and betrays him. His companion, Peachey Carnehan, manages to escape to tell the tale, but Dravot is killed.

Kilping’s short stories and verses gained success in the late 1880s in England, to which he returned in 1889, and was hailed as a literary heir to Charles Dickens. Between the years 1889 and 1892, Kilping lived in London and published LIFE’S HANDICAP (1891), a collection of Indian stories that included ‘The Man Who Was,’ and BARRACK-ROOM BALLADS, a collection of poems that icluded ‘Gunga Din,’ a parise of a Hindu water carrier for a British Indian regiment.

In 1892 Kipling married Caroline Starr Balestier, the sister of an American published and writer, with whom he collaborated a novel, THE NAULAHKA (1892). The young couple moved to the United States. Kipling was dissatisfied with the life in Vermont, and after the death of his daughter, Kipling took his family back to England and settled in Burwash, Sussex. Kipling’s marriage was not in all respects happy. The author was dominated by his wife who disliked the vulgar aspects of her husband’s character. Kipling invented a persona acceptable to public and developed in his works his ideal man of action. During these restless years Kilping produced MANY INVENTIONS (1893), JUNGLE BOOK (1894), a collection of animal stories for children, THE SECOND JUNGLE BOOK (1895), and THE SEVEN SEAS (1896).

Widely regarded as unofficial poet laureate, Kipling refused this and many honors, among them the Order of Merit. During the Boer War in 1899 Kilping spent several months in South Africa. In 1902 he moved to Sussex, also spending time in South Africa, where he was given a house by Cecil Rhodes, the influental British colonial statesman. In 1901 appeared KIM, widely considered Kipling’s best novel. The story, set in India, depicted adventures of an orphaned son of a sergeant in an Irish regiment.

Soon after Kipling had received the Nobel Prize, his output of fiction and poems began to decline. His son was killed in the World War I, and in 1923 Kipling published THE IRISH GUARDS IN THE GREAT WAR, a history of his son’s regiment. Between the years 1922 and 1925 he was a rector at the University of St. Andrews. Kipling died on January 18, 1936 in London, and was buried in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey. Kipling’s autobiography, SOMETHING OF MYSELF, appeared posthumously in 1937.

Kipling’s glorification of the British empire and racial prejudices, stated in his poem ‘The White Man’s Burden’ (1899), has repelled many readers, and made uneasy also such admirers as W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot. However, readers loved Kipling’s romantic tales about the adventures of Englishmen in strange and distant parts of the world. His most uncontroversial books are considered his tales for children. His own children appeared in the stories as Dan and Una – the death of ‘Dan’ in the WW I darkened author’s later life. Characteristic for Kilping’s work is realism, added with acute observation of men and landscapes, exploration of myth and fantasy, and sharp, racy style.

Rudyard Kipling Stories

External Links

Rudyard Kipling Poetryat Poetseers

Rudyard Kipling: The Complete Verse at Amazon.com

Rudyard Kipling Booksimage