Kipling, Rudyard (1865-1936), English novelist was awarded the Nobel Prize. Kipling wrote novels, poems and stories set mainly in India and Burma during the time of British rule.
He was born on December 30, 1865 in Bombay (India) and 6 years old he was sent to study in England. He returned to India in 1882. From that time worked for the Civil and Military Gazette of Lahore as an editor and writer of short stories. His writings for the press stories were collected in Plain Tales from the Hills (1887). He later traveled to Asia and the United States. In 1903, he settled in England. Kipling was a prolific and popular writer. In 1907 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, becoming the first English author deserving of this award. He died on January 18, 1936 in London.
His literature is also related to three aspects: patriotism, the English duty of leading a life of intense activity and the destiny of England, called to be a great empire. These aspects are inherited from the victorian past, and it made him become an anathema for liberals, specially during the years following the 2nd World War.
It is difficult to make a judgement on Rudyard Kipling, in part due to the disconcerting range of his subject matter. For example, it is impossible to read Plain Tales From The Hills without agreen with the nineteen century critic who accused him of honouring “everywhere the brute and the bully”. But at the same time, we can´t disregard his sympathy for children, men and woman, white and brown alike, caught up in interracial sexual relations, as in Without Benefit of Clergy. Besides, his partiality towards imperialism is not always so clear. For example, in The man born to be king, two down-at-heel adventurers seize a country to the North of Afganistan and only fail to establish a dinasty there because of the character defects of one of them. It is an ironically grim fable on the nature of empire building.
It is also difficult to make a global study on Kipling´s short stories. His range is so extraordinary that it is impossible to pick up an only story as typical of Kipling. Instead, there are peaks of excellence spread throughout his work. Let´s give some instances.
Mrs. Bathurst: study in sexual magic. His mastery of rendering of character through dialogue, makes Kipling a modernist writter in ocassions.
Friendly book: a story very pagan in tone about what is a local deity.
The wish house: a beautiful story of self sacrifice. Here Kipling shows his creative genius, for example making up an instance of ancient folklore.
The eye of Allah and Wireless, are stories of scientific invention. In the first, the microscope is invented, and smashed to pieces in a monastery, and in the second it is related an early experiment in transmission by radio which is magically tied up with the presence of a man whose mind in a trance is invaded by the spirit of John Keats.
Mary Postgate is a chilling and often misunderstood story of morbid psychology. It is a haunting story of phantom children, which influenced Eliot in the writing of Burnt Norton.
In spite of his excellence in short story writing, he was never a successful novelist. Kim is a case on its own, a wonderfully sympathetic evocation of Indian native life.
As a children´s writer, he is one of the great in the language. It is in books like The jungle book, Puck of Pook´s hill, and Stalky and Co. Where he is clearest regarding his moral values.
As a poet, he hasn´t been studied thoroughly yet. He stood apart from the general poetic practice in his lifetime. In poems like “Mandalay” and “Danny Deever”, he forged his own characteristic expression out of the music hall balad, which he brought into literature. His most famous poem, Recessional, is obviously one of the great hymns.
What is out of doubt is that he was a genuine popular writer, and more lines and phrases from his verse have passed into the common mind and speech than those of any other English poet of the century.
De sus principales obras de ficción breve cabe destacar Muchas fantasías (1893), El libro de las tierras vírgenes (1894) y El segundo libro de las tierras vírgenes (1895), colecciones de historias de animales que constituyen en opinión de muchos lo mejor de su literatura; además de Precisamente así (1902) y Puck, el de la colina (1906). Entre sus novelas o relatos largos más populares figuran La luz que se apaga (1891), sobre un artista ciego; Capitanes intrépidos (1897), una historia de marineros; Stalky & Cía. (1899), basada en sus experiencias infantiles en el United Services College, y Kim de la India (1901), un relato picaresco de la vida en la India. Lo más destacable de su poesía es quizá Baladas del cuartel (1892) y Las cinco naciones (1903). Algo de mí mismo, publicada póstumamente en 1937, es un relato inacabado sobre su triste infancia.