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Rudyard Kipling


Joseph Rudyard Kipling (December 30, 1865 – January 18, 1936) was a British author and poet, born in India. He is best known for the book of children's tales The Jungle Book (1894), the Indian spy novel Kim (1901), the poems "Gunga Din" (1892), and "If—" (1895), as well as many of his short stories.

The height of Kipling's popularity was the first decade of the 20th century: in 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and still remains its youngest-ever recipient, as well as the first English language writer to receive the prize. In his own lifetime he was primarily regarded as a poet, and was offered a knighthood and the post of British poet laureate, though he turned them both down.

Kipling was born in Bombay, India. His parents had courted at Rudyard Lake in Staffordshire, England, hence Kipling's name. As a 6-year-old, he and his 3-year-old sister were sent to England and cared for by a woman named Mrs. Holloway. The poor treatment and neglect he experienced until he was rescued at the age of 12 may have influenced his writing, in particular his sympathy with children. His maternal aunt was married to the artist Edward Burne-Jones, and young Kipling and his sister spent Christmas holidays with the Burne-Joneses in England from the ages of 6 to 12, while his parents remained in India.

After a spell at a boarding school, Kipling returned to India, to Lahore (in modern-day Pakistan) where his parents were then working, in 1882. He began working as a sub-editor for a small local newspaper, the Civil & Military Gazette, and continued tentative steps into the world of poetry; his first professional sales were in 1883. By the mid-1880s, he was traveling around India as a correspondent for the Allahabad Pioneer. His fiction sales also began to bloom, and he published six short books in 1888. One short story dating from this time is "The Man Who Would Be King."

The next year, Kipling began a long journey back to England, going through Burma, China, Japan, and California before crossing the United States and the Atlantic Ocean, and settling in London. His travel account From Sea to Sea and Other Sketches, Letters of Travel, is based upon newspaper articles he wrote at that time. From then on, his fame grew rapidly, and he positioned himself as the literary voice most closely associated with the imperialist tempo of the time, in the United Kingdom (and, indeed, the rest of the Western world and Japan). His first novel, The Light that Failed, was published in 1890. The most famous of his poems of this time is probably "The Ballad of East and West" (which begins "Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet").

In 1892 Kipling married Caroline (Carrie) Balestier; he was 26, she was 30. Her brother Wolcott had been Kipling's friend, but had died of typhoid fever the previous year. They had initially met when Wolcott, a publisher, solicited Kipling for the American rights to his books. While the couple was on their honeymoon, Kipling's bank failed. Cashing in their travel tickets only allowed the couple to return as far as Vermont (where most of the Balestier family lived). Rudyard and his new bride lived in the United States for the next four years.

In 1898 Kipling began travelling to Africa for winter vacations almost every year. In Africa Kipling met and befriended Cecil Rhodes and began collecting material for another of his children's classics, Just So Stories for Little Children. That work was published in 1902, and another of his enduring works, Kim, first saw the light of day the previous year.

Kipling's poetry of the time included "Gunga Din" (1892) and "The White Man's Burden" (1899); in the non-fiction realm he also became involved in the debate over the British response to the rise in German naval power, publishing a series of articles collectively-entitled A Fleet in Being.

The first decade of the 20th century saw Kipling at the height of his popularity. In 1907 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature; nearly simultaneous with this achievement was the publication of two connected poetry and story collections: 1906's Puck of Pook's Hill and 1910's Rewards and Fairies. The latter contained the poem "If— ". In a 1995 BBC opinion poll, it was voted Britain's favourite poem. This exhortation to self-control and stoicism is arguably Kipling's most famous poem.

Kipling was so closely associated with the expansive, confident attitude of late 19th century European civilization that it was inevitable that his reputation would suffer in the years of and after World War I. Kipling also knew personal tragedy at the time as his eldest son, John, died in 1915 at the Battle of Loos, after which he wrote "If any question why we died/ Tell them, because our fathers lied". This wording may have been due to his hand in getting John a commission in the Irish Guards, when he would have struggled with the medical on account of his eyesight. Partly in response to this tragedy, he joined Sir Fabian Ware's Imperial War Graves Commission (now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission), the group responsible for the garden-like British war graves that can be found to this day dotted along the former Western Front and all the other locations around the world where Commonwealth troops lie buried. His most significant contribution to the project was his selection of the biblical phrase "Their Name Liveth For Evermore" found on the Stones of Remembrance in larger war graves. He also wrote a history of the Irish Guards, his son's regiment.

Less than one year before his death Kipling gave a speech (titled "An Undefended Island") to The Royal Society of St George on 6 May, 1935 warning of the danger Nazi Germany posed to Britain. Kipling kept writing until the early 1930s, but at a slower pace and with much less success than before. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage January 18, 1936 at the age of 70. (His death had in fact previously been incorrectly announced in a magazine, to which he wrote, "I've just read that I am dead. Don't forget to delete me from your list of subscribers.") Rudyard Kipling is buried in Poets' Corner, part of the South Transept of Westminster Abbey where many literary people are buried or commemorated.

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Books by Rudyard Kipling on Riapress.com

Captains Courageous

By: Rudyard Kipling

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France at War

By: Rudyard Kipling

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Sea Warfare

By: Rudyard Kipling

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By: Rudyard Kipling

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By: Ignatius Valentine Chirol

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Author Bibliography

A Kipling bibliography
Adams, Jad. Kipling / Jad Adams. London: Haus Books, 2005.
Amis, Kingsley.  Rudyard Kipling and his world. London: Thames and Hudson, 1975.
Bauer, Helen Pike. Rudyard Kipling: a study of the short fiction.  New York: Maxwell Macmillan, 1994.
Birkenhead, Earl Frederick. Rudyard Kipling. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1978.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Rudyard Kipling. New York: Chelsea House, 1987.
Bodelsen, C. A. Aspects of Kipling's art. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1964.
Braddy, Nella. Rudyard Kipling: son of empire. New York: Messner, 1941.
Brown, Hilton. Rudyard Kipling. New York: Harper, 1945.
Carpenter, Lucile Russell. Rudyard Kipling, a friendly profile. Chicago: Argus Books, 1942.
Carpenter, William Montelle. A few significant and important Kipling items! Chicago: Special Book Co., 1930.
Carrington, Charles, Rudyard Kipling: his life and work. London: Macmillan, 1955.
Charles, Cecil. Rudyard Kipling, his life and works. Hampstead: J. Hewetson & Son, 1911.
Clarke, William James. The less familiar Kipling, and Kiplingana, by G. F. Monkshood. London: Jarrolds, 1922.
Clemens, William Montgomery. A ken of Kipling: being a biographical sketch of Rudyard Kipling, with an appreciation and some anecdotes. New York: New Amstersdam Book Co., 1899.
Coates, John  D. The day's work: Kipling and the idea of sacrifice. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1997.
Croft-Cooke, Rupert. Rudyard Kipling. London: Home & Van Thal, 1948.
Crook, Nora. Kipling's myths of love and death. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989.
Dillingham, William B. Rudyard Kipling: hell and heroism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
Falls, Cyril. Rudyard Kipling: a critical study. Philadelphia: R. West, 1978. Reprint of the 1915 ed. published by M. Secker, London.
Fido, Martin. Rudyard Kipling. London: Hamlyn, 1974.
Fraser, Robert. Victorian quest romance: Stevenson, Haggard, Kipling, and Conan Doyle. Plymouth, UK: Northcote House, 1998.
Gilbert, Elliot L. The good Kipling: studies in the short story. Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1972.
Gilbert, Elliot L., ed. Kipling and the critics. New York: New York University Press, 1965.
Gilmour, David. The long recessional: the imperial life of Rudyard Kipling. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002. Green, Roger Lancelyn. Kipling; the critical heritage. London: Routledge and K. Paul, 1971.
Gross, John J., ed. Rudyard Kipling: the man, his work and his world. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1972.
Gross, John J., ed. The age of Kipling. Edited by John Gross. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.
Hagiioannu, Andrew. The man who would be Kipling: the colonial fiction and the frontiers of exile. Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
Harrison, James. Rudyard Kipling. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1982.
Hart, Walter Morris. Kipling, the story-writer. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1918.
Hart, Walter Morris. Kipling, the story-writer. Folcroft, ,PA: Folcroft Library Editions, 1973. Reprint of the 1918 ed. published by University of California Press, Berkeley.
Henn, Thomas Rice. Kipling. Edinburgh, London, UK: Oliver & Boyd, 1967.
Hopkins, Robert Thurston. Rudyard Kipling, a character study: life, writings and literary landmarks. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, 1921.
Hopkins, Robert Thurston. Rudyard Kipling: a literary appreciation. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1916.
Hopkins, Robert Thurston. Rudyard Kipling: the story of a genius. London: C. Palmer, 1930.
Hopkins, Robert Thurston. Rudyard Kipling's world. London: R. Holden, 1925.
Kamra, Sukeshi. Kipling's vision: a study in his short stories. New Delhi: Prestige Books, 1989.
Kemp, Sandra. Kipling's hidden narratives. Oxford, UK: B. Blackwell, 1988.
Kernahan, Coulson. Nothing quite like Kipling had happened before; some little memories of a great man. London: Epworth Press, 1944.
Kipling, Rudyard. Something of myself: for my friends, known and unknown. London: Macmillan, 1937.
Knowles, Frederic Lawrence. A Kipling primer; including biographical and critical chapters, an index to Mr. Kipling's principal writings, and bibliographies. New York, Haskell House Publishers, 1974. Reprint of the 1899 ed. published by Brown, Boston.
Lascelles, Mary. The story-teller retrieves the past: historical fiction and fictitious history in the art of Scott, Stevenson, Kipling, and some others. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980.
Lawton, William Cranston. Rudyard Kipling, the artist: a retrospect and a prophecy. New York: Morse Co., 1899.
Le Gallienne, Richard. Rudyard Kipling; a criticism. With a bibliography by John Lane. London and New York: John Lane, 1900.
Livingston, Flora Virginia Milner. Bibliography of the works of Rudyard Kipling. New York: E.H. Wells and Co., 1927.
Livingston, Luther Samuel. Rudyard Kipling's first book. New York, 1899.
Lohman, W. J.  The culture shocks of Rudyard Kipling. New York: P. Lang, 1990.
Macdonald, Meryl. The long trail: Kipling round the world. Bristol, UK: Tideway House, 1999.
MacMunn, George Fletcher, Sir. Rudyard Kipling: craftsman. Folcroft, PA: Folcroft Library Editions, 1974. Reprint of the 1937 ed. published by R. Hale, London.
Mallett, Phillip. Kipling considered. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989.
Mallett, Phillip. Rudyard Kipling: a literary life. Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
Martindell, Ernest Walter. A bibliography of the works of Rudyard Kipling. London: Lane, 1923.
Mason, Philip. Kipling: the glass, the shadow and the fire. London: J. Cape, 1975.
McBratney, John. Imperial subjects, imperial space: Rudyard Kipling's fiction of the native-born. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2002.
McClure, John A. Kipling & Conrad, the colonial fiction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981.
Moore, Katharine. Kipling and the white man's burden. London, Faber, 1968.
Moss, Robert F. Rudyard Kipling and the fiction of adolescence. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1982.
Norton, Charles Eliot. Rudyard Kipling; a biographical sketch. New York, Doubleday & McClure., 1899.
Orel, Harold. Critical essays on Rudyard Kipling. Boston, MA: G.K. Hall, 1989.
Palmer, John. Rudyard Kipling. London: Nisbet & Co., 1915.
Palmer, John. Rudyard Kipling. New York: Haskell House, 1974. Reprint of the 1915 edition.
Ricketts, Harry. The unforgiving minute: a life of Rudyard Kipling. London: Chatto & Windus, 1999.
Roberton, William. The Kipling guide book: a handy guide to Rudyard Kipling, his life and writings, with a bibliography of his works. Birmingham: The Holland company, 1899.
Rutherford, Andrew. Kipling's mind and art, selected critical essays. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1964.
Sen, Indrani. Woman and empire: representations in the writings of British India, 1858-1900. Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 2002.
Seymour-Smith, Martin. Rudyard Kipling.  London: Macdonald/Queen Anne Press, 1989.
Shahane, Vasant Anant. Kipling: activist and artist. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1973.
Stewart, J. I. M. Rudyard Kipling. London: Gollancz, 1966.
Sullivan, Zohreh T. Narratives of empire: the fictions of Rudyard Kipling. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
Sunderland, Lynn. The fantastic invasion: Kipling, Conrad, and Lawson. North Blackburn, AUS: Melbourne University Press, 1989.
Sutcliff, Rosemary. Rudyard Kipling. New York: H.Z. Walck, 1960.
Tompkins, J. M. S. The art of Rudyard Kipling. London: Methuen, 1959.
Weygandt, Ann Matlack. Kipling's reading and its influence on his poetry. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1939.
Williams, Jesse Lynch. Rudyard Kipling. New York: Scribners' Sons, 1899.
Wilson, Angus, 1913-1991. The strange ride of Rudyard Kipling: his life and work. London: Secker and Warburg, 1977.
Young, William Arthur. A dictionary of the characters and scenes in the stories and poems of Rudyard Kipling 1886-1911. New York: B. Franklin, 1969. Reprint of the 1911 edition.