By Sean Tuohy
With Jon Favreau’s "The Jungle Book" currently roaring through the box office, it’s time to look at the badass who first brought us the story about an orphan in the jungle.
Kipling's work changed the landscape of modern storytelling. Born to an English father stationed in India, Kipling absorbed lessons from his ayahs (nurses) and the native tongue. He was sent to study in England, and during his time there he worked on his craft. He created wild stories that took place in world filled with science and thrilling plots. Kipling's work is often cited as the first form of modern science fiction.
Returning back to India, Kipling worked as a journalist and his writings quickly gained international attention. By the time he returned back to England once again, he was already a literary celebrity. After marrying an American woman, the author moved with her to Vermont where he worked on his first installment of The Jungle Book.
At the outbreak of World War I, Kipling pushed for England to enter the conflict. When his son John was denied military service, Kipling used his power and status to allow him to join the army. Kipling's tone about the war changed after John was killed in battle. Kipling spent the remainder of the war working for the Graves Commission, which was in charge of maintaining military graveyards. Kipling was known to mark the graves of unknown soldiers with a marker that read:
“A Soldier of the Great War, Known Unto God.”
Kipling continued to write, and even became the first Briton to with the Pulitzer Prize. He was also the youngest man awarded the Nobel Prize.
We should mention that Kipling made a fanboy stop in America in 1889 to meet his literary hero Mark Twain. According to Brain Pickings, Twain became enamored with Kipling’s work. At age 70, Twain is quoted as saying,
“I am not acquainted with my own books but I know Kipling’s books. They never grow pale to me; they keep their colour; they are always fresh.”
Kipling passed away in 1936. We assume he and Twain are drinking and smoking heavily while viciously editing each other’s work.