At a Glance
Rudyard Kipling is an author of whom you are already partly aware if you are familiar with the bear, Baloo, and the young boy, Mowgli, from the Disney movie The Jungle Book. The movie was adapted from Kipling’s most successful book, and like much of Kipling’s famous work, it focuses on children and animal characters. The Jungle Book, which takes place in a tropical forest, was authored while Kipling’s writing room was almost buried in snow in Vermont. The author claims that he thought about Mowgli that cold winter and then sat back and watched his pen write the lost boy’s story. The book proved so successful that the author spent almost as much time reading letters sent to him from children as he did writing.
Facts and Trivia
- In 1907, Kipling received a Nobel Prize for literature, the first English-language author to win the prestigious award.
- Kipling was named after Rudyard Lake in Britain, the place where his parents first met.
- When he was six, Kipling was sent from India, where his parents lived, back to England. He stayed with a very strict family whom Kipling later described as causing him such great terror that it led him to write.
- Kipling’s first book, Stalky and Co., relates juvenile tales of revenge, dead cats, bullying, and initial explorations into the topic of sex.
- Kipling might have lived in Vermont for the rest of his life were it not for his brother-in-law, who made a huge public display of threatening to physically abuse Kipling. This sent Kipling and his family back home to Britain.
Article abstract: The author of several books of extraordinary insight about the realm of childhood, as well as some stirring popular poetry sympathetic to the British soldier, Kipling’s greatest accomplishment was his depiction of life in India at the close of the nineteenth century.
Rudyard Kipling was born in 1865 in India, one year after his father had accepted a position as a teacher of architecture in Bombay. His parents both came from prominent but not wealthy families, and the promise of a reliable source of income was sufficient inducement for the Kiplings to leave England. Rudyard Kipling always recalled his childhood in India as a time of exceptional happiness, a paradisiacal existence in an Edenic setting where he was treated like a young god by a loving family and many friendly local servants. This idyll came to an end in 1871, when his parents, in accordance with British cultural expectations about hygiene, social status, and racial purity, sent him to England to board with a retired sea captain in Southsea. For the next six years, Kipling lived in what he called “The House of Desolation,” severely disciplined by the captain’s widow. The only pleasure he had during this time was his holiday visits to the home of his uncle Edward Burne-Jones, the renowned Pre-Raphaelite painter, in whose “magical domain” Kipling learned the stories of the “Arabian Nights” from family group readings, and from whom he developed an appreciation for games of language and wit, for stories of invention and surprise, and for the eclectic decor of the Burne-Jones home.
In 1875, Kipling’s father became curator of the museum in Lahore, a considerable advancement in status and financial remuneration. This promotion permitted Kipling to enter the United Services College, a very new, very minor public school with an unusual headmaster (Cormell Price) who shared the radical public views of William Morris and recognized Kipling’s need for encouragement in his idiosyncracies of character. Incompetent at and disdainful of the social-entry games of cricket and soccer, Kipling nevertheless became close friends with two other individualistic boys (the trio became the basis for the heroes of Stalky & Co. , 1899) who shared his early interest in writing, debating, and exotic gestures such as decorating their study with Japanese fans, old china, and glass from second-hand shops. Avidly pursuing a program of...
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