Kipling, Joseph Rudyard

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kipling, Joseph Rudyard


Born Dec. 30,1865, in Bombay; died Jan. 18, 1936, in London. English writer.

Kipling’s father was a colonial official and intellectual. From 1882 to 1889, Kipling lived in India, where he worked on newspapers and published the verse collection Departmental Ditties (1886) and the collection of short stories Plain Tales From the Hills (1888). The hero of The Light That Failed, Kipling’s first novel (1890; Russian translation, 1903), is a talented artist who, after suffering reverses in his personal life, finds death on the battlefield in the ranks of the colonial troops. The novel Kim (1901) extols the espionage activities of an Anglo-Indian boy on behalf of the British Empire. Kipling is most famous for his poetry collections, such as Barrack-Room Ballads (1892), The Seven Seas (1896), and The Five Nations (1903), in which he describes the everyday life of soldiers and minor officials and their devotion to their duty to the empire. In criticizing the English colonial administration (”Pagett, M. P.”) and in faulting the British government and military command for their inattention to the lower ranks (”Tommy”), Kipling created the impression that his views were impartial and objective. His works, however, are extremely tendentious in asserting the “civilizing” mission of the Anglo-Saxon race among the “backward” peoples of the East (”The White Man’s Burden,” 1899). The later works of Kipling are artistically unimportant.

The best of Kipling’s poems have much in common with English folk songs and ballads and are marked by dynamic rhythms, somewhat coarse humor, and vivid vernacular language. Kipling’s works for children are particularly popular, especially the tales about the life of the child Mowgli among the animals of the jungle (The Jungle Book, 1894; Second Jungle Book, 1895). Kipling received the Nobel Prize in 1907.


The Writings, vols. 1–36, New York, 1897–1937.
Recessional and Other Poems. London, 1899.
Puck of Pook’s Hill. London, 1906.
Something of Myself. London, 1937.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch. [vols. 1–20] Petrograd, 1916.
Izbr. stikhi. Leningrad, 1936.
Rasskazy. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936.
Skazki. Tales translated by K. Chukovskii; poetry translated by S. Marshak. Moscow, 1956.
Maugli. Moscow, 1956.
Lispet: Rasskazy. Leningrad, 1968.


Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1958.
Kipling’s Mind and Art: Selected Critical Essays. Edited by A. Rutherford. Stanford, Calif., 1964.
Henn, T. R. Kipling. Edinburgh-London [1967].
Kipling: The Critical Heritage. London [1971].
Livingston, F. V. Bibliography of the Works of R. Kipling. New York, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.