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. The Complete Stalky & Co., first published 30 years later, includes five stories not published in the original edition.
Kipling's works of fiction include The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901), and many short stories, including "The Man Who Would Be King" (1888). His poems include "Mandalay" (1890), "Gunga Din" (1890), "The Gods of the Copybook Headings" (1919), "The White Man's Burden" (1899), and "If—" (1910). He is regarded as a major innovator in the art of the short story; his children's books are classics of children's literature; and one critic described his work as exhibiting "a versatile and luminous narrative gift".
Kipling was one of the most popular writers in England, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Henry James said: "Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known." In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English-language writer to receive the prize, and its youngest recipient to date Among other honours, he was sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and on several occasions for a knighthood, all of which he declined.