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Joseph Rudyard Kipling

March 7, 2011

Joseph Rudyard Kipling


Joseph Rudyard Kipling

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was born in 1865 at Bombay to Lockwood Kipling. His father was then the principal prestigious Jeejabhoy School of Architecture at Bombay. As customary in those days, Kipling was sent to England to be educated at the United Services College. After completing his schooling, Kipling returned to India, as he didn’t have required fund to get enlisted in Oxford. It was 1882 when Rudyard Kipling joined Civil and Military Gazette at Lahore as a journalist.

This was the phase of his making. His editor by the name of Dr. Wheelers encouraged him to write articles and poems that first appeared in the newspaper were later collected and published as Departmental Ditties (1886), Plain Tales from the Hills (1888), Soldiers Three (1890) and Wee Willie Winkie (1890).

When he was sure of his popularity in India, Kipling tried to pursue his career in writing in England. His plans hit a roadblock when his very first novel, based on his true-life encounters, by the name of ‘ The Light That Failed (1890)’ failed miserably. He was shocked to death but kept calm. His next ventures such as Barrack-Room Ballads (1892) and Jungle Book (1894) established Kipling’ s reputation however. Jungle Book went on to become one of the bestsellers in the history of English literature. However, some people find his work full of preconceived notions and typecasting. Due to his propagation of ‘White Man’s Burden’ those hostile to imperialism accused Kipling of jingoism.

On the outbreak of the Boer War, Kipling traveled to South Africa. In South Africa, Rudyard Kipling worked with civil organizations that helped wounded soldiers. He even went on to produce a newspaper for the troops that propagated the infallibility of the British race. By the time he returned to England, Kipling was being described as the Laureate of the Empire.

In 1901 Kipling published the best-selling novel, Kim. Riding on the success of Kim, over the next few years Kipling concentrated on writing children’s books such as Just So Stories (1902), Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906) and Rewards and Fairies (1910). After the outbreak of First World War in 1914, the War Propaganda Bureau arranged for Kipling to tour of Britain’s army camps. The visits resulted in the publication of The New Army (1914). He also visited the Western Front and wrote about his experiences in France at War (1915).

Soon after the outbreak of the First World War, Kipling’ s only son, John attempted to enlist in the British Army. Kipling used his influence to get his seventeen-year-old son enlisted but he died in the Battle of Loos. He never really got over from the loss of his son and for many years suffered from depression. This was reflected in the somber mood of most of his later writing including his autobiography by the name ‘Something of myself’ that was published in 1934. Rudyard Kipling died of a severe hemorrhage in London on 18th January 1936.

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