Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 41 years of age, the youngest writer to receive this prize and the first recipient of the English-language. He was born in Bombay of British India (at the time).  He had a difficult and traumatic childhood. He was sent away to England by his parents as it was the custom at the time for the “Anglo Indians” (people of British origin living in India), when he was only 5 years old and his sister Alice who was only 3, to live in a foster home where they were neglected, beaten and abused; as the author states in his autobiography the treatment they received as children was “calculated torture.” Later on he had a challenging experience in school.  “The United Services College” was a school founded to prepare boys for the British Army, a preparation that involved a rough discipline. He was unable to get a scholarship to get into Oxford University so he was able to return back to India at age 16 for a job working in Lahore, Punjab (now Pakistan) as an assistant editor of a small local newspaper “The Civil and Military Gazette”. He later on began writing short stories in the same newspaper. He traveled the world and he continued to write profusely. He got married in 1892, at age 29. He had 2 daughters (Josephine and Elise) and a son. More misfortune followed as his first daughter Josephine died of pneumonia at the age of 6. At the peak of his career he became interested in Tibetan Buddhism and oriental philosophies which may have influenced some of his writings. His son John was killed when he was 18 years old serving in the First World War. Rudyard Kipling was quite devastated. He continued to write throughout his life and his personal experiences as well as his extensive travels influenced his prolific work. Here is one of my favorite poems: “If”.



If you can keep your head when all about you   

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;   

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:


If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;   

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:


If you can make one heap of all your winnings

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’


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!



Wikipedia. 2016. RUDYARD KIPLING. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudyard_Kipling. [Accessed 29 May 2016].

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Published by Amira Carluccio