rudyard kipling (1865 –1936)


Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling was a British writer born in 1865 in British India who spent many years living there, which inspired many of his short stories including the Jungle Books. He is well known for his short stories and poems. In 1907 Kipling became the first English-language writer and the youngest person to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The Jungle Book: in this classic of British literature, a family of wolves take a little boy into their home in the jungle. The child learns and plays with the other cubs. But can he really live in the jungle? Will the other wolves want him to stay? And will the dangerous tiger Shere Khan catch him?

R. Kipling was born in Bombay, British India, in a wealthy and highly educated family. Just before the age of six, Rudyard and his younger sister were sent back to England to receive their formal education. It was a very unpleasant experience for young Kipling who started idealizing the India of his early childhood as a “space of edenic unity” beyond all divisions, very different from the “dark land” of England. At sixteen, Kipling returned to India where he started writing as a journalist in the The Civil and Military Gazette. In 1886 Kipling began to make a name for himself as an original and perceptive writer who represented the British in India, better than anyone who had come before him. In 1889, he returned to London where and started working ceaselessly. After his marriage to Caroline Balestrier in 1891, Kipling settled in the U.S for about four years, then he returned with his wife back to England. Kipling was always looking for somewhere to settle down, but he never succeeded in finding a country that was up to his expectations. South Africa became the next land. The Boer war had just begun, and Kipling enthusiastically supported the British claim to the territory. He also supported the British participation in World War One, as he had long predicted that Germany’s rivalry with Britain would result in conflict. For him the settlement at Versailles was another betrayal, mocking the sacrifices of the fallen allies.
For his remaining two decades, he suffered constant pain from a series of misdiagnosed stomach disorders, but he continued to write, and to develop his art, right up until the end of his life.
Kipling was awarded the Noble Prize of literature in 1907.

1 Plain Tales from the Hills (1886), a series of sketches about many aspects of life in British India. The title is a pun: ‘Plain’ is the reverse of ‘Hills’ and ‘plain’ refers both to the simple narrative style and to the fact that many of the stories are set in the Hill Station of Simla, the ‘summer capital of the British Raja’ during the hot weather.
2 The Man Who Would Be King (1888) is about two British adventurers in British India, who become kings of Kafiristan, a remote part of Afghanistan. The story was inspired by an Englishman who became the “white Raja” in Borneo, and by the travels of an American adventurer who claimed the title of Prince of Ghor. It was made into a movie in 1975 by John Huston.
3 The Light that Failed (1891), his first novel about the life of Dick Heldar, a painter who goes blind. Most of the actions take place in London, but many important events throughout the story occur in Sudan or India. It was made into a film both in 1916 and in 1939 directed by William A. Wellman.
4 The Jungle Book (1894) and The Second Jungle Book (1895) are collections of stories first published in magazines in 1893–4. The original publications contained illustrations, some by Rudyard’s father, John Lockwood Kipling. The tales in the book are fables, using animals in an anthropomorphic manner to give moral lessons.
5 Captains Courageous (1897) is a novel that follows the adventures of fifteen-year-old Harvey Cheyne Jr., the arrogant son of a railroad magnate.
6 Kim (1901) is a novel about the adventures of an English orphan boy, living in India among the natives and becoming the disciple of a Lama, then a player in the secret service.

Short Stories
Life’s Handicap (1901) is a collection of short folk tales from Northern India. These tales have been narrated by nameless men on steamers and trains round the world and a few from his father.
His best verse is contained in Barrack Room Ballads and Soldiers Three.

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