First published in 1899, Stalky and Co. is a collection of school stories based on Kipling's own experiences at the United Services College. Kipling himself appears as the central character called Beetle and through him shows how school is a pattern-maker for the experiences of life.
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About the Author
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was one of the most popular writers in the United Kingdom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His fiction works include The Jungle Book — a classic of children’s literature — and the rousing adventure novel Kim, as well as books of poems, short stories, and essays. In 1907, at the age of 42, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Over his long lifetime Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936) published 14 loosely linked "Stalky" stories. The first nine appeared in 1899 as STALKY & CO. A fifteenth manuscript has also appeared, long after Kipling's demise, though dating back to at least 1899. *** Here is something of the genesis of those tales. In the January 1888 spring term of United Services College (USC) at Westward Ho! outside the town of Bideford, on the north Devon seacost entered student Number 264 Joseph Rudyard Kipling, the future Nobel Prize winner for literature. He was 13. A classmate who had been at the fledgling military prep school since its beginning three years earlier, future Major General Lionel Dunsterville, befriended Rudyard Kipling and began a lifelong friendship. With fellow 13-year old new boy George Beresford, the later world war photographer, the three made up a "triple alliance" that carried them through their school years together. Each boy later recorded his recollections of their school years. *** Kipling wrote first (1899) and the others much later. By every account their real schooldays were as much riotous fun as those of Kipling's fictional Stalky (Dunsterville), M'Turk (Beresford) and Beetle (Kipling) in STALKY & CO. *** IN 1899 Kipling saw himself, Dunsterville and Beresford as united in a determination to do things their way. They each admired USC headmaster (the real Kipling family friend Cormell Price) and "Padre," the school's Anglican chaplain. To the other masters and staff and to most of the students Stalky & Co. were largely indifferent. But let anyone infringe their God-given rights unjustly, and the three friends would take revenge. The form of such revenge was always well thought out and suited to the crime. *** Read STALKY & CO. and find out what "crimes" were avenged by hiding a dead cat in the ceiling of a boys' dormitory, or when a village girl was persuaded to kiss a schoolboy in a position of authority or when the school's army drill squad came to an end. *** There are several scenes set in the faculty lounge where the masters either complain about or mildly justify Stalky & Co., especially rascal poet Beetle/Kipling. In one such meeting over pipes, Padre rebuked school maser Prout for provoking the boys by saying that Beetle did not bathe. The Chaplain: " ... but he, or they -- it comes to the same thing -- have the fiend's own knack of discovering a man's weak place. I confess I rather go out of my way to conciliate (their) Number Five study. It may be soft, but so far, I believe I am the only man here whom they haven't maddened by their -- well -- attentions" (from the chapter "An Unsavoury Interlude"). *** Publishing STALKY & CO. a few years later, Kipling was already lauding United Services College and the school teachers who imparted lessons beyond anything they dreamed. In the book's introductory poem, they were "famous men" (Sirach 44.1) who sacrificed their To-days for their students' To-morrows. -OOO-