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Stalky and Co.

Stalky and Co. by Rudyard Kipling
By: (1865-1936)

Rudyard Kipling published Stalky & Co. in 1899. Set at an English boarding school in a seaside town on the North Devon coast. (The town, Westward Ho!, is not only unusual in having an exclamation mark, but also in being itself named after a novel, by Charles Kingsley.)

The book is a collection of linked short stories, with some information about the eponymous Stalky’s later life. Beetle, one of the main trio, is said to be based on Kipling himself, while Stalky may be based on Lionel Dunsterville.

The stories have elements of the macabre (dead cats), bullying and violence, and hints about sex, making them far from the childish or idealised world of the typical school story. Edmund Wilson, critic, in The Wound and the Bow, was both shocked and uncomprehending.

Adapted by Tim Bulkeley from the Wikipedia entry.

First Page:


By Rudyard Kipling

"Let us now praise famous men" Men of little showing For their work continueth, And their work continueth, Greater than their knowing.

Western wind and open surge Tore us from our mothers; Flung us on a naked shore (Twelve bleak houses by the shore! Seven summers by the shore!) 'Mid two hundred brothers.

There we met with famous men Set in office o'er us. And they beat on us with rods Faithfully with many rods Daily beat us on with rods For the love they bore us!

Out of Egypt unto Troy Over Himalaya Far and sure our bands have gone Hy Brasil or Babylon, Islands of the Southern Run, And cities of Cathaia!

And we all praise famous men Ancients of the College; For they taught us common sense Tried to teach us common sense Truth and God's Own Common Sense Which is more than knowledge!

Each degree of Latitude Strung about Creation Seeth one (or more) of us, (Of one muster all of us Of one master all of us ) Keen in his vocation... Continue reading book >>

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