Rudyard Kipling who was born in the year 1865 December 30th in Bombay, India, was an architectural sculpture teacher and an artist. Kipling spent most of his early life in India and was later sent to England by his parents for education, This is where Kipling gained some rich experience of colonial life. Kipling made significant contributions to English Literature through his various works which included short story writing, writing novels, and contributions in poetry. While in England, he lived a miserable life due to victimization through beatings and mistreatment and later suffered from bouts of insomnia. His writings are greatly remembered due to his celebration of the imperialism in Britain, poems and tales of England both in verse and prose formats in the late nineteenth and twentieth century's. British imperialism is evident in India based on the quote coined by Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli stating that the "Jewel in the Crown" of the empire is India. On the other hand, Joseph Conrad born in Berdichev in the year 1857, 3rd December was a novelist; Polish born (Merriman 1). Joseph was regarded as one of the greatest English novelist although he did not speak English language fluently and had a Polish accent until his twenties. He was a master of prose stylist and brought a non-English sad feeling in the English literature. It also can be seen in Conrad's works that colonialism is a scourge being forced a pone a native people.
Various similarities can be derived from the works of Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad on their writing career. To begin with, both Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad have made contributions to the English literature through their depictions of colonialism. They both wrote short stories and novels although Kipling went ahead to writing poetry. They both were regarded as good novelist and wrote predominantly with a seaboard or nautical settings which depicted human beings trial. They both featured the aspect of colonialism in their works. In the year 1907, unlike Conrad, Kipling was awarded as the Nobel Prize winner in the literature field. This made him the first writer in English author to receive Nobel Prize and he still remains the youngest Nobel Prize winner recipient to date.
Some of Conrad's works have a strain of romanticism unlike Kipling's work which is entirely based on imperialism, colonialism and children's tale. For example Conrad's romanticism is heavily colored with irony and a fine sense of man's capacity for self-deception. However, both Kipling and Conrad are viewed as precursors of the modern literature whose narrative styles and anti-heroic characters have influenced different many authors .
Both Conrad and Kipling tries to show how the trial of the weak in the human spirit through the demand of honor and duty. For instance, in Rudyard Kipling's work on "The Man Who Would be King" and Joseph Conrad's 1902 book on "Heart of Darkness", they both try to show quintessence descriptions on what happens when Europeans makes effort in forcing their cultural values on other countries (Moore 3). Although Kipling's book on "The Man Who Would be King" is less cautionary and much milder than that of Conrad; both Conrad and Kipling have something valid and important to say on the horrors and evils of colonialism impose on those who are colonized.
In his work, Kipling takes British soldiers exploiting a less advanced civilization, but then finding out that both peoples are fundamentally the same. For example, when Daniel Dravot gets bit and bleeds the priests scream "Neither God nor Devil but a man!"(Bloom 244) showing that even the simplest of peoples can see through the lies of the most advanced. unlike Conrad who views both natives and Europeans as the same, except one who's technology is more advanced, and that is what separates them from being savage. However, both view culture blending as an important aspect in their work. Kipling's views on colonialism differs with Conrad since when Conrad views the downsides of colonialism, Kipling on the other hand view it as being right. In Kipling's work on "The Man Who Would be King", he presents colonialism in two sides, both in British and Kafiristanies . He however, presumes the British colonialism side as being right. However, both Conrad and Kipling have differences in many works with different views on colonialism.
Both Kipling and Conrad criticize the British in their work. For instance, In Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", Conrad harshly condemn the oppression and terror which results from domination, and mainly from the European domination of Africa (Bloom 133). Just like Kipling, Conrad, has enough personal knowledge and especially from experience on such subject matter. This is because Conrad had been to Congo in the1890s and therefore provides his views through his work. Conrad is shocked by his experience in Congo in the 1890s and hence views colonialism just like a cultural bully and a moral vice of the Europeans. Kipling as well hated the United States and they both evidently elucidated western culture vices in Africa and both thought it useless in imposing western culture structure in Africa.
Unlike Kipling whose writing was not developed from the parents; Conrad literature skills emanated from the family. Conrad's father was Korzeniowski Apollo, a writer, a patriot and a translator of different authors work such as William Shakespeare and Victor Hugo. Conrad was therefore inspired by his father's work in becoming interested in English literature and a novelist. He would also read William Shakespeare and Victor Hugo's work and even those of Charles Dickens (Merriman 1).
However, the artistic trends of both Kipling and Conrad were influenced by their personal background where they grew up. For instance, Conrad as one of the members of the Polish noble gentry, living in the Ukraine under Tsarist autocracy was a very chaotic time politically and they were therefore under constant surveillance (Merriman 1). In the year 1861, Conrad's father together with his mother were arrested since his father was a nationalist and a serf's supporter as well as an opponent of Poland's oppressors. They then exiled to Northern Russia in Vologda when Conrad was four years old. This event had a definite effect on Conrad's writing style, giving him the reasoning to write from a view of an anti-imperialist.
After the death of his parents, his life changed as he moved to Poland, Cracow, to live with his maternal uncle, Bobrowski Tadeusz. Later, after attaining education with a tutor student from Cracow University and with his uncle's blessings, Conrad moved to Marseilles, a bustling port in southern France to accomplish his sea life desires. In "Heart of Darkness" Conrad doesn't see sailors from the average point of view as an explorer with vast knowledge, as shown in the quote.
"He was a seaman, but he was a wanderer, too, while most seamen lead, if one may so express it, a sedentary life. Their minds are of the stay-at-home order, and their home is always with them - the ship; and so is their country - the sea. One ship is very much like another, and the sea is always the same. In the immutability of their surroundings the foreign shores, the foreign faces, the changing immensity of life, glide past, veiled not by a sense of mystery but by a slightly disdainful ignorance; for there is nothing mysterious to a seaman unless it be the sea itself, which is the mistress of his existence and as inscrutable as Destiny." (Bloom 1.9)
Strangely Conrad does not see seamen as explorers. He describes their lifestyles as somewhat inactive, sitting aboard their ship going wherever the current takes them. Conrad's background made him to view life in a different perspective but still with a sense of irony and humor.
Finally, Conrad's life influenced his thinking to his English literature to becoming one of the greatest 20th Century novelists, known for his dramatic realism and mastery of atmosphere, at times compared to Kipling Rudyard (Merriman 1). On the other hand, Kipling after leaving his homeland to England and the hard life after mistreatment made him desperately unhappy with this experience influencing and coloring his later writings.
Bloom, Harold. Joseph Conrad's Heart of darkness. Chelsea House Pub, 1987. Print.
Bloom, Harold. Rudyard Kipling. Chelsea House Pub, 1987. Print.
Greenblatt, Stephen, and Meyer Howard. The Norton anthology of English literature: The major authors. W W Norton & Co Inc, 2006. Print.
Merriman, C.D. Joseph Conrad. 2007. Web. 28th April. 2011
< http://www.online-literature.com/conrad/ >
Moore, Julie. Rudyard Kipling, Joseph Conrad and Colonialism. 2007. Web. 28th April. 2011