Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)

“Departmental Ditties” (1886)

“Plain Tales from the Hills” (1888)

“Soldiers Three” (1888)

“Barrack-Room Ballade” (1893)

“Seven Seas” (1896)

“The Light that Failed” (1891)

“Many Inventions” (1896)

“Jungle Books” (1894; 1896)

“Just so Stories” (1902)

“Debits & Credits” (1926)

“The Five Nations” (1903)

“Actions & Reactions” (1909)

“Captains Courageous” (1897)

Romanticism as such finds its ways in the minds of people & in the trends that somehow come into being in literature. We can speak here of periodic reoccurrences in literary history. Reoccurrences of Romanticism: the most important one occurred about 1800 in continental Europe (Blake, Burns, Byron etc.). A revival of this movement began at the turn of the 20th century. It formed a part of a literary reaction against realism & naturalism in particular. The authors that participated in this movement shared an interest in the exotic & unusual as opposed to prosaic & ordinary (J. Galsworthy, S. Maugham vs. near Romantic Movement R. Kipling).

Kipling was attracted by the unusual & exotic, heroic & superhuman. At the same time he was down to earth. He was an advocate of an ordinary soldier.

On the one hand Kipling was a man whose relationship with the Bible is rather visible & he was a man of stoic anticlerical views. He was considered an English nationalist and at the same time he wrote about England as being petty & even lamentable. He expressed rather prominent dislike for non-white people & at the same time he wrote that they are more honest. Courageous as far as USA is concerned, he expressed rather vivid contempt & showed deep admiration for the country. He showed his respect for the working class & was all against the labor movement. He wrote about the Empire with great exaltation & showed that the works of the Empire were vain (vague).

Kipling was a poet, a writer of fiction, a journalist. At the same time he was a literary critic; he was a social writer who was very much concerned with current events & at the same time he wrote about the eternal. He was sure that it was an Englishman stately & imposing, who could change the world & bring civilization to the regions that were never civilized & cultivated. He wrote scenes, in which he described the best qualities of the man as such, as a human being.

On the one hand Kipling advertises war & shows war as atrocities, moral & physical. He shows war as atrocities that ruin the lives of people because they are inhuman.

“The Hyenas”

After the burial parties leave

And the baffled kites have fled;

The wise Hyenas come out at ever

To take account of our dead

How he died & why he died

Troubles them not a whit

The snoul, the bushes & stones aside

A dig till they come to it.

They are only resolute they shall eat

That they & their mates may thrive

And they know that the dead are safer

Than the weakest thing alive

Kipling does not speak directly about the process of war. Here is an indirect description that is more vivid than any account of what’s going on the battle field.

Kipling is an author of many facets: folklorist, dialect poet, adventure novelist, writer of juvenile literature, champion of nationalism & at the same time one of the most humanistic writers. Some critics say that much of his work is dated today. Many of his short stories have lasting merit. As time goes on it appears that Kipling’s children’s starts are better (and even the best in the genre), than most of his adult prose. This is a good sample to prove that Kipling is sincere (recognized by children is the best mark of sincerity). Sometimes his best works lie on the line between the juvenile & adult prose. “Kim” is the best example of such novel. If you read Kipling you don’t but feel an adolescent charm of his work. Mostly appealing to the youth & adult he’ll remain the standard author for the time to come. His works may also seem a source of information about the end of the 19th century, colonial wars, the British Empire & India, which Kipling loves so much.

Kipling’s short stories will give us all necessary information about British soldiers. They are full of humor, quite sincere & full of pride. They are in no way brass laughing with soldier’s snobbery.

Kipling was born in Bombay in 1865. His father was a highly creative artist & a university professor. Rudyard was educated in England in the school he later describes as “St. & Company”. He returns to India at about 17. First he tried journalism & then he turned to fiction writing. As his literary fame began to grow he settles in London. “Barrack-Room Ballade” was the first book to achieve world recognition.

During the World War I he turned to anti-German propaganda. At that time he was a fervent British patriot. His only son was killed in the war. Many honors came to him in the old age. He was awarded Nobel Prize in Literature on1907. He was endowed with many university degrees & he died in London in1936.

Chief Works

“Barrack-Room Ballade”

This collection of poetry contains the most famous Kipling’s dialect poems. There are 2 sections in the book: the first containing serious ballads in Standard English & the second consisting of semi-humorous songs in Cockney & soldier slang.

Kipling is often opposed to Oscar Wilde. Kipling showed his resentment of this intellectual life & he wanted to be close to common people, but common people do not understand his works. The poems are ingenious & the language is “salty”.

“Kim”

It’s considered to be Kipling’s best novel. The hero of the novel is an Irish orphan. He’s raised as an Indian and as a young boy he encounters a mysterious Tibetan Lama & follows the Lama through India in a pilgrimage in search of the legendary river Earo. One comes to know a lot about India, its cultural peculiarities, East &Asia as such. One comes to look for some secrets & secret forces every human being possesses. Later Kim is claimed by the British & sent to a school. After his education he joins the British service. He helps to capture a Russian spy. The chief merits of the book are absorbing interest of the plot & the first picture of Indian life at the time of the Crimean war.

“Junglebooks”

They show Mawgley and his animal associates. It’s about law of the jungle – mostly just law, because it depends not only upon our national considerations, but upon the instinct. If animal is dangerous (like a Tiger), it is despised by the whole animal community. Kipling tried to catch much many a didactic idea of the book, but it’s not one of these ideas children come to like about “Junglebook”. It’s a book about friendship, about genuine leadership. In many ways it’s an idealistic book, which proves that human society & the set of values of human beings are not a pattern to be imitated.