A great story-teller
In his day Kipling was for many years the best-loved story-teller in the English-speaking world. He is still widely read, widely published, and translated into numerous languages,
In India, where in his first job he worked as a journalist for seven years, he was like Kim, delighting in the river of life to be discovered in ‘this great and beautiful land’. Like Mowgli he moved freely between different worlds.
He wrote light-heartedly of the Anglo-Indian social whirl in Simla, and admiringly of the hard lives of young soldiers and administrators up and down the land, and of the Indian peasants in their villages. He believed in British rule over India, but he did not hesitate to criticise the government savagely.
He was fascinated by the endless variety of people and places. He wrote of soldiers and war, of ships and the sea, of cars and planes and journeys, engineers and machines, science and technology. He wrote science fiction.
A many-sided world
He loved children and wrote marvellous stories just for them. A hundred years later we have found they ring bells for today's primary school children, who readily pick up Kipling's style and wit for themselves. He wrote The Jungle Books and the Just So Stories
In Sussex, where he settled in a big old house, he recalled the thousands of years of history around him in Old England. He wrote Puck of Pook's Hill and Rewards and Fairies.
He wrote of doctors and medicine, of stress and healing, of revenge, of love and hate.
He wrote "If—" and "Mandalay", and "My Boy Jack", and "The Way through the Woods", and "The Ballad of East and West", and "Harp Song of the Dane Women."
The Kipling Society was founded in 1927 by a few enthusiasts, including Kipling's school-fellows Major General Lionel Dunsterville and George Beresford, who are immortalised in Stalky & Co. the tales he wrote about his schooldays, relished by generations of schoolboys and schoolgirls.
Lionel Dunsterville (1865-1946), 'Stalky' of Stalky & Co., life-long friend of Kipling, leader of Number Five Study at the 'Coll', tactically brilliant, served in the Indian Army in Waziristan, and became a Major-General, commanded 'Dunsterforce' in Persia in 1917.
He wrote Stalky's Reminiscences in 1928.
George Beresford (1864-1938), 'Turkey' in Stalky & Co., the acid-tongued Irish aristocrat, reader of Ruskin. He was a leading portrait photographer who took the classic photo of Virginia Woolf, and a friend of Augustus John and William Orpen.
He wrote Schooldays with Kipling in 1936.
The Society soon attracted hundreds of members in many countries, started a successful quarterly Kipling Journal, held regular meetings, became a forum for good chat and a place of good fellowship, and one of the most thriving literary societies in the world.
Ever since Kipling has been read and studied and argued over by many notable figures, George Orwell, T.S. Eliot, Edmund Wilson, W. H. Auden, Angus Wilson, C.S. Lewis, Edward Said. And ever since, the Society has been open to anyone of any age in any country who enjoys Kipling's works.
The Society today
We are now a world-wide community of his readers, with on line access to what people are saying today about Kipling and his writings. The Society’s library at Haileybury College (right) houses complete sets of Kipling’s works, literary critical texts, translations, photographs and printed ephemera.
Our quarterly meetings in London are addressed by speakers from many different countries. Highlights in 2020 will include talks by biographer Harry Ricketts on ‘Kipling and trauma’ and by postcolonial scholar Harish Trivedi on ‘Kipling, the Raj and Indian Rajahs’ as well as a conference on Kipling and Journalism at City University, London.
Recent subjects have included "The Wish House and the Working Class" by Mark Paffard, "Kipling at the Sorbonne" by Rosamond Parsons, and "Kipling, Kingsley, Conan Doyle and the Anglo-Boer War" by Sarah LeFanu, author of the recently published book, Something of Themselves.
These talks are also published in the Kipling Journal for all members; the archive of Journals back to 1927 is available to Members on this web-site.
Jan Montefiore has edited the Kipling Journal since June 2013.
Professor of 20th Century English Literature at the University of Kent, she is the author of many studies, including Rudyard Kipling (Northcote House, 2007), has edited In Time's Eye, Essays on Rudyard Kipling (Manchester University Press, 2013).
She has directed four international Kipling conferences including ‘Kipling in India: India in Kipling’, jointly with Professor Harish Trivedi (below).
Thomas Pinney is Professor of English, emeritus, at Pomona College, California.
He is the editor of the comprehensive Cambridge Edition of the poems of Rudyard Kipling (2013), of the six-volume collection of the letters of Rudyard Kipling (Macmillan 1990-2004), of Kipling's autobiography, and of a number of volumes of his uncollected articles and speeches, including The Cause of Humanity and other stories (2019).
Harish Trivedi has been Professor in the Department of English, Delhi University (1969-2012) and Visiting Professor at the Universities of Chicago (1999, 2011) and London (2002-2003)
He is the author of Colonial Transactions: English Literature and India (Manchester 1995), and has a particular interest in postcolonial studies.
He edited Kim for Penguin Classics in 2011, and in April 2016 was the joint Conference Director with Janet Montefiore of ‘Kipling in India: India in Kipling’ at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla (book of the conference forthcoming from Routledge).
Daniel Karlin is Winterstoke Professor of English at the University of Bristol.
He has a particular interest in American literature, Robert Browning, Marcel Proust, Bob Dylan—and Rudyard Kipling. He has been a frequent contributor to the Kipling Journal, and Kipling conferences. He edited Rudyard Kipling, a critical edition of the major works (Oxford, 1999).
Joining the Society
As a member of the Society you can come to meetings, swap ideas, find out more about what he wrote and what people have said of it since, read our Kipling Journal, use our library, explore this web-site, take part in on line chats on our Facebook page, Tweet to fellow members.
You can be sure of a friendly welcome.
Our postal address is: The Kipling Society, Doomsday Gardens, Horsham,West Sussex RH13 6LB, England. You can contact the Chairman of Council, Mike Kipling, by email at email@example.com. For membership enquiries contact Dr Fiona Renshaw at firstname.lastname@example.org.