Rudyard Kipling was born on 30th December 1865 in Bombay, India, and died on 18th January 1936, aged 70 years, in Middlesex hospital, London.
I suppose he was a product of his age. In the book, he is portrayed as passionate about the British Empire, and sometimes controversial about imperialism. George Orwell called him a ‘prophet of British imperialism.’
His most notable works are: Jungle Book, Just So Stories, Kim, Captains Courageous. Gunga Din, The Man Who Would Be King.
His most famous poem is ‘IF’. The title of the book ‘The Unforgiving Minute’ is taken from this poem, and I quote the relevant stanza.
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
He married Carrie Balestier in 1892. They had three children, Elsie, born 1896, the only surviving child. Josephine, their eldest child, born 1893, died of pneumonia in 1899. John, born 1897, sadly died in the First World War, aged 18, in the Battle of Loos, in 1915.
In 1891, Kipling purchased a piece of land from Carrie’s brother, Beatty, and they had a large house constructed, which they called The Naulahka. Kipling and Carrie’s brother had a major falling out. The resulting court case so embarrassed Kipling, that in 1896, he and his family left Vermont for a new life in England.
Life was never the same again after Josephine’s death. In 1902, Kipling sought the seclusion of a lovely 17th- century mansion, called Bateman’s, near Burwash, Sussex, where he spent his remaining years.
Kipling was friends with so many famous people, too many to mention in this blog, but I will say a few names. Mark Twain, Cecil Rhodes, King George V.
In 1907 he was awarded the Noble Prize in Literature, making the first English writer to receive the prize. He was nominated for the British Laureateship, and on several occasioms for a knighthood. Both of which he declined.