Rudyard Kipling : an English Journalist

Also Read

      Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was born in Bombay but soon moved to Lahore, when his father, a professor of archaeological sculpture, was appointed curator of the Government Museum there. At the age of six he was sent to England to school, and two years later he entered United Services College, Devon, the life of which he was to immortalize in Stalky & Co. (1899). On his return to India he was a reporter for the Lahore Civil and Military Gazette and the Allahabad Pioneer (1882-87), before beginning a two years voyage to England which took him through China, Japan, and the United States, and led to the articles which were collected as From Sea to Sea (1900). Subsequently he travelled widely in many parts of the world, lived for four years in the U.S.A. (1892-96), and finally settled at Rottingdean, on the Sussex coast. His literary fame brought him many honours, including the Nobel Prize for Literature (1907) and the Rectorship of St Andrews University (1922-1925).

Kipling was a prolific, very versatile writer, and had from the outset all the qualities necessary for popularity. His journalistic experience served him in good stead throughout his career, and his prose works, which include stories of Indian life, of children, and of animals, are told with great vitality. He has an inventive faculty, a romantic taste for the adventurous and the supernatural, and an apparently careless, very colloquial style, which ensured for his work a popular reception.
Rudyard Kipling

      Kipling was a prolific, very versatile writer, and had from the outset all the qualities necessary for popularity. His journalistic experience served him in good stead throughout his career, and his prose works, which include stories of Indian life, of children, and of animals, are told with great vitality. He has an inventive faculty, a romantic taste for the adventurous and the supernatural, and an apparently careless, very colloquial style, which ensured for his work a popular reception.

      His insistent proclamation of the superiority of the white races, of Britain's undoubted mission to extend through her imperial policy the benefits of civilization to the rest of the world, his belief in progress and the value' of the machine, found an echo in the hearts of many of his readers. Into the period of the decadent writers he swept like a gale of invigorating salt air, glorifying the values of action, manliness, loyalty, and self-sacrifice, and, if his work betrayed occasional lapses of taste or excursions into the melodramatic or sentimental, they were not faults of such a kind as to affect the popularity he had enjoyed from the moment of his first English publications.

      But there was more in Kipling thana mere popular writer. His achievement in revitalizing literature in the 1890's is not to be underestimated. His painting of Anglo-Indian and of native life is extremely good: his portraits of soldiers, natives, and of children are also vividly drawn, though the characterization is not deep: his background is clearly visualised and realistically presented, and he has a great ability to create an atmosphere of mystery. The apparent carelessness of style is an effect deliberately and skilfully cultivated, and his stories are expertly constructed.

      Kipling's best-known prose works include Plain Tales from the Hills (1888); Soldiers Three (1888); The Phantom Rickshaw (1888);. Wee Willie Winkie (1888); Life's Handicap (1891); Many Inventions (1893); The Jungle Book (1894); The Second Jungle Book (1895); Capiains Courageous (1897); The Day's Work (1898); Kim (1901); Just-so Stories for Little Children (1902); Puck of Pook's Hill (1906); Rewards and Fairies (1910); Debits and Credits (1926); and Limits and Renewals (1932). As a poet Kipling claims credit for reintroducing realism and a racy vigour into the verse of the nineties. At his best he achieves genuine poetry; at his worst he can be mechanically and stridently crude. He lacks delicacy of touch. He is a ceaseless experimenter in verse forms and rhythms, and his main themes are those of his prose works. His verse is to be found in Departmental Ditties (1886); Barrack-room Ballads (1892); The Seven Seas (1896); The Five Nations (1903); Inclusive Verse, 1885-1918 (1919) and Poems, 1886-1929 (1930).

Post a Comment

If you have any doubts, let me know

Previous Post Next Post

Search Your Question Here