Kipling in 1895
|Born||Joseph Rudyard Kipling|
30 December 1865
|Died||18 January 1936 (aged 70)|
|Occupation||Short-story writer, novelist, poet, journalist|
|Genre||Short story, novel, children's literature, poetry, travel literature, science fiction|
Caroline Starr Balestier (m. 1892)
|Children||3, including |
Kipling's works of fiction include
Kipling was one of the most popular writers in the United Kingdom, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Kipling's subsequent reputation has changed according to the political and social climate of the age and the resulting contrasting views about him continued for much of the 20th century.
Rudyard Kipling was born on 30 December 1865 in
John Lockwood and Alice had met in 1863 and courted at
Kipling's birth home on the campus of the J J School of Art in Bombay was for many years used as the Dean's residence. Although the cottage bears a plaque noting it as the site where Kipling was born, the original cottage may have been torn down decades ago and a new one built in its place. Some historians and conservationists are also of the view that the bungalow marks a site that is merely close to the home of Kipling's birth, as the bungalow was built in 1882—about 15 years after Kipling was born. Kipling seems to have said as much to the Dean when he visited J J School in the 1930s.
Kipling wrote of Bombay:
Mother of Cities to me,
For I was born in her gate,
Between the palms and the sea,
Where the world-end steamers wait.
According to Bernice M. Murphy, "Kipling's parents considered themselves '
Kipling referred to such conflicts, for example: "In the afternoon heats before we took our sleep, she (the Portuguese
Kipling's days of "strong light and darkness" in Bombay ended when he was five years old. As was the custom in British India, he and his three-year-old sister Alice ("Trix") were taken to the United Kingdom—in their case to
In his autobiography, published 65 years later, Kipling recalled the stay with horror, and wondered if the combination of cruelty and neglect which he experienced there at the hands of Mrs Holloway might not have hastened the onset of his literary life: "If you cross-examine a child of seven or eight on his day's doings (specially when he wants to go to sleep) he will contradict himself very satisfactorily. If each contradiction be set down as a lie and retailed at breakfast, life is not easy. I have known a certain amount of bullying, but this was calculated torture—religious as well as scientific. Yet it made me give attention to the lies I soon found it necessary to tell: and this, I presume, is the foundation of literary effort".
Trix fared better at Lorne Lodge; Mrs Holloway apparently hoped that Trix would eventually marry the Holloways' son. The two Kipling children, however, did have relatives in England whom they could visit. They spent a month each Christmas with their maternal aunt Georgiana ("Georgy") and her husband,
In the spring of 1877, Alice returned from India and removed the children from Lorne Lodge. Kipling remembers, "Often and often afterwards, the beloved Aunt would ask me why I had never told any one how I was being treated. Children tell little more than animals, for what comes to them they accept as eternally established. Also, badly-treated children have a clear notion of what they are likely to get if they betray the secrets of a prison-house before they are clear of it".
In January 1878, Kipling was admitted to the
Near the end of his time at the school, it was decided that Kipling lacked the academic ability to get into Oxford University on a scholarship. His parents lacked the wherewithal to finance him, so Kipling's father obtained a job for him in
He sailed for India on 20 September 1882, and arrived in Bombay on 18 October. He described this moment years later: "So, at sixteen years and nine months, but looking four or five years older, and adorned with real whiskers which the scandalised Mother abolished within one hour of beholding, I found myself at Bombay where I was born, moving among sights and smells that made me deliver in the vernacular sentences whose meaning I knew not. Other Indian-born boys have told me how the same thing happened to them." This arrival changed Kipling, as he explains: "There were yet three or four days' rail to Lahore, where my people lived. After these, my English years fell away, nor ever, I think, came back in full strength".