Kipling Sahib

Kipling Sahib

by Charles Allen


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The first biography of Kipling's younger years: his Indian childhood, abandonment in England, and coming of age as a writer.

Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay in 1865 and spent his early years there, before being sent to England at the age of six, where he was desperately unhappy. Charles Allen's great-grandfather brought the sixteen-year-old Kipling back to India to work on The Civil and Military Gazette, and thus began young Rudyard's literary career.

He arrived in Bombay on October 18, 1882—"a prince entering his kingdom"—and for the next seven years, his writing established him as a popular and critical, though sometimes controversial, success. Allen has written a brilliant account of these formative years—as a child in India, his unhappy years in England, and his coming of age back "home" in Bombay. In this tale of family and Empire, Allen traces the Indian experiences of Kipling's parents, Lockwood and Alice, and reveals what kind of culture the young writer was born into and how it would shape his life and writing over the next twenty years.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781605980317
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 03/08/2009
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Charles Allen is the author of a number of critically acclaimed books, including Soldier Sahibs, God's Terrorists, and Plain Tales from the Raj. He lives in England.

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Kipling Sahib 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Ausonius More than 1 year ago
One Kipling biography cannot possibly be enough. The man lived too long, had too complex a personality, flirted with too many women, took too much opium, wrote too many masterpieces for any one book to wrap it arms around him. *** Nonetheless, Charles Allen's 2009 biography KIPLING SAHIB is a fine stand alone portrait of the winner of the 1907 Nobel Prize for literature. My copy has more than 364 pages of narrative, maps and photographs, followed by 61 pages of end notes, a nearly exhaustive Glossary of Indian and Anglo-Indian Words, up-to-the-minute Select Bibliogaphy and one of the most useful indexes I have ever read. *** What sets KIPLING SAHIB apart from other Kipling biographies is author Allen's showcasing of India, where Rudyard was born in 1865, spending his first five years being raised by servants in Bombay, and to which he returned to work as a journalist 1882 - 1889. After a leisurely trip across the Pacific, the USA and the north Atlantic, Rudyard Kipling landed in Liverpool and moved on to London to continue his already begun career as poet and prose writer. In short order Kipling became the object of frenzied reading public adulation. *** In the judgment of biographer Charles Allen, almost all Kipling's best work had been written by 1900 - 1901, where his narrative essentially ends with the creation of his masterpiece, the novel KIM. In Allen's view, Kipling was always at his best when writing about the India he knew and loved: expatriate British officials, journalists, adventurers and businessmen as well as Afghan horse traders, native spies working to keep the Russian Bear at bay, prostitutes, opium dens, and the quintessential British fighting man, Tommy Atkins. *** The biography's first words are: "Immodest as it sounds, I was born to write this book" (Preface). One of several reasons for that boast is the fact that in India both the biographer's great-grandfather and grandfather had given journalistic employment to Rudyard Kipling, or at least to his father John Lockwood Kipling. *** KIPLING SAHIB is anything but dull. Perhaps because the author speculates more than more cautious historians and students of psychology might do, e.g. about the extent of Rudyard's dabbling with Indian prostitutes or inhaling opium fumes. I rate this unusually fine book 4.7 stars, rounding up to 5.0. -OOO-