Rudyard Kipling: Nobel Laureate and Chronicler of Empire and Identity

OV Digital Desk

Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936) was an English novelist, short-story writer, poet, and journalist. In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.

Life and Career

He was born on 30 December 1865, in Bombay Presidency, British India. He was admitted to the United Services College in 1878. There, he became the editor of the school magazine. He wrote poems for Schoolboy Lyrics, which his father published in 1881. He returned to India in October 1882 and worked as a journalist.

He wrote his first novel, ‘The Light That Failed’, for two years. The book was published in January 1891. After that, he was inspired to write a book about a boy called Mowgli and his animal friends. In 1894, he published ‘The Jungle Book’, a series of stories about the same theme. Then, he came out with Departmental Ditties (1886). His short stories Plain Tales from the Hills (1888) and Soldiers Three (1888) are full of rough and affectionately drawn soldier portraits. He also wrote Barrack Room Ballads (1892).

He published a lot of other books during this time, including ‘Many Inventions’ (1893), ‘The Second Jungle Book’ (1895), ‘The Seven Seas’ (1896), Captain Courageous (1897), The Day’s Work (1898), Stalky and Co. (1899), Trafficks and Discoveries (1904), Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906), Thy Servant is a Dog (1930), and Limits and Renewals (1932). His most famous work is Kim (1901), about Kimball O’Hara’s Himalayan adventures.

He kept writing until the early 1930s, though a little slower. In 1935, he published ‘Tales of India: the Windermere Series’, probably his last book. His autobiography ‘Something of Myself’ was published in 1937. He died on 18 January 1936 in London, England.

Award and Legacy

He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1907 for the “power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas, and remarkable talent for narration that characterize this world-famous author”. In 1926, he received the Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Literature.