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Rudyard Kipling

(Joseph) Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936) was a British writer, famous in particular for his poems and stories which frequently took parts of Britain’s empire for their theme, content or setting. Born in India, Kipling travelled widely across the world and in 1898 he spent some months in South Africa where he met Milner, Rhodes and Olive Schreiner. In a letter written to Betty Molteno from Kimberley in March 1898, Schreiner commented that she had seen quite a lot of the Kiplings, and of Kipling himself she remarked, “He’s loveable”. Elsewhere in her letters Schreiner occasionally quoted from Kipling’s writings, including in a 1912 letter to Merriman.

Between 1898 and 1908, South Africa played an important part in Kipling’s life and he made it his winter home. According to one biographer, “His admiration for Rhodes, Milner, and Jameson was unqualified.” (Pinney 2004). Kipling’s most famous writings include The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901), Just So Stories (1902), and his poems If (1895) and The White Man’s Burden (1899). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907, but more recently he has been read critically, especially by many post-colonial scholars, as an ardent imperialist, racist and jingoist whose writings played a key role in producing popular support for British imperialism. However, he was more multi-dimensional than this makes it seem, something which comes across in Schreiner’s mentions of him. It is likely that some letters were exchanged between Schreiner and Kipling, although none have been traced.

For further information see:
Jad Adams (2005) Kipling London: Haus Books
Rudyard Kipling (1990-99) The Letters of Rudyard Kipling (edited by Thomas Pinney, 4 volumes) Basingstoke: Macmillan
Phillip Mallett (2002) Rudyard Kipling: A Literary Life Basingstoke: Palgrave
Jan Montefiore (2007) Rudyard Kipling Horndon: Northcote House
Thomas Pinney (2004) ‘Kipling, (Joseph) Rudyard (1865-1936)’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Oxford University Press http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/34334
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