Born on this day in Bombay and educated in England, Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was a prolific writer of over 300 stories and poems. He is best known for his classic children's story The Jungle Book (1894,1895), about a boy named Mowgli raised by wolves in the wilderness of India.
"The strength of the pack is in the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is in the pack," he wrote.
The son of an artist, Kipling loved books and was a weaver of word magic. His vivid storytelling entranced. "Words are, of course the most powerful drug used by mankind," he said.
A reporter during the Boer War and World War II, Kipling was also a poet who celebrated British colonialism and patriotism, with Gunga Din (1892) and the controversial The White Man's Burden (1899), which asked the U.S. to take responsibility for developing the Philippines.
He believed that the "chosen race" of Britain was courageous and had the duty to civilize other races; this was "the white man's burden." Writer George Orwell called Kipling "the prophet of British Imperialism."
In 1907, he became the first English author to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature "in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author."