Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling portrait image to appear alongside the Rudyard Kipling biography.

Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1937). Poet, short-story writer, journalist and imperialist, Rudyard Kipling's work remains one of the best accounts of the British colonial experience in India.

Born in Bombay in 1865, Rudyard Joseph Kipling was the son of John Lockwood Kipling, the author and illustrator of Beast and Man in India, and Alice, sister-in-law to the painter and designer Sir Edward Burne-Jones. In 1871 Kipling was brought with his young sister to England, where he lived for five unhappy years with an elderly relative in Southsea. This period was later recalled with some bitterness in the short story Baa, Baa, Black Sheep. In 1878 Kipling went to study at the United Services College, a minor public school for the sons of service officers. While there he began writing verse and had a privately published volume appear in 1881. His series of schoolboy stories entitled Stalky and Co (1899) depict his time there, with the character Beetle being something of a self-portrait.  After leaving school Kipling worked as a journalist in India from 1882 to 1889 and during this time he produced a body of work - stories, sketches and poems - which had become known in England and had made him famous by the time he settled in London in 1889. Departmental Ditties, Plain Tales from the Hills and Soldiers Three added to Kipling's growing reputation. His second collection of poems, Barrack-Room Ballads appeared in 1892 and contained some of his most famous verse; 'Mandalay', 'Gunga Din', and 'Danny Deever'. In 1892 Kipling married Caroline Balestier, the sister of his American agent, and for the next four years they lived in Vermont. While here Kipling wrote the work for which he is best known, The Jungle Book, and it was published to immediate success in 1894. Kipling returned to England in 1896, finally settling at 'Bateman's' in Sussex in 1902. Kim, which is generally considered his masterpiece, was published in 1901 and was shortly followed by another of his successful books for children, Just So Stories. Kipling still travelled widely and experienced war at first hand when he went to South Africa in 1900. Kipling's reports about the Boer War were startling, but his strong views on violence and strengthening imperialism antagonized the anti-imperialists at home who accused him of jingoism and of being a warmonger.  Widely regarded as the unofficial Poet Laureate (Kipling refused this accolade along with many other civil honours) he was, in 1907, the first English writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize. His work became gradually more sombre as the Great War approached and this is reflected in later stories such as A Diversity of Creatures (1917), Debits and Credits (1926) and Limits and Renewals (1932). The death of his only son in 1915 contributed to a new inwardness of vision. Kipling died in 1936 and is buried in Westminster Abbey. An unfinished autobiography entitled Something of Myself was published posthumously.

Rudyard Kipling books reviewed

Bibliography

  • The Story of the Gadsbys (1888)
  • Plain Tales from the Hills (1888)
  • The Phantom Rickshaw and other Eerie Tales (1888)
  • The Light That Failed (1890)
  • "Mandalay" (1890)
  • "Gunga Din" (1890)
  • The Jungle Book (1894)
  • The Second Jungle Book (1895)
  • "If—" (1895)
  • Captains Courageous (1897)
  • "Recessional" (1897)
  • The Day's Work (1898)
  • Stalky & Co. (1899)
  • "The White Man's Burden" (1899)
  • Kim (1901)
  • Just So Stories (1902)
  • Puck of Pook's Hill (1906)
  • Life's Handicap (1915)