It was on this day in 1907 that Rudyard Kipling received the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was the first English-language writer to do so. The man who once showed up at Mark Twain’s door unannounced, Kipling remains to this day a controversial figure. Many of his tales, including his most well-known work, The Jungle Book, were said to be a celebration of British power and advancement over others. George Orwell once called him, “a prophet of British Imperialism.” Nevertheless, the youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature would become the highest paid writer int eh world during his day.
Sadly, however, two of his three children died at an early age. His baby daughter, Josephine, died after falling ill with pneumonia while his son, John, died at age 18 during the First World War.
Perhaps Kipling’s greatest contribution to literature was the innovation he provided concerning the short story. Even those who despised his imperialistic themes and messages, regarded him as one of the great short-story writers of all time. Writer and critic, Edmund Wilson, says it this way, “Kipling really finds new rhythms, new colors and textures of words, for things that have not yet been brought into literature … he is extraordinary as a worker in prose.”