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Stalky & Co. by Rudyard Kipling
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Stalky & Co. (1899)

by Rudyard Kipling

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633615,308 (4.01)1 / 33
  1. 00
    Stalky's Reminiscences by L. C. Dunsterville (PitcherBooks)
    PitcherBooks: Kipling's STALKY & CO. is about three British school boys: Stalky, M'Turk and Beetle. The originals were, respectively, Lionel C. Dunsterville, George Beresford and Joseph Rudyard Kipling... [Dunsterville's memoir] is low-key, humorous, tongue-in-cheek, skipping through the author's life ... with an eye often on the comical and ordinary - T. Patrick Killough, Amzn Reviewer. Stalky's Reminiscences (aka Stalky's Adventures) is by the real Stalky and includes his recollections of Kipling. 'The real Stalky, General Dunsterville, who is so delightful a character that the fictitious Stalky must at times feel jealous of him as a rival..In the war he proved his genius in the Dunster Force adventure and in this book he shows that he possesses another kind of genius - the genius of comic self-revelation and burbling anecdote. And the whole story is told in a vain of comedy that would have done credit to Charles Lever' - The Observer… (more)
  2. 00
    Maurice: A Novel by E. M. Forster (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Maurice is kind of a Stalky grown-up to be gay.
  3. 00
    The Fourth of June by David Benedictus (devenish)
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Showing 4 of 4
The casual brutality of the late nineteenth century really comes through in this novel. But since the young people of the school in the book were all being trained up to be cannon-fodder, perhaps that was an appropriate way of rearing boys. Women don't feature in the story at all, except as a means of humiliating one of the characters and to be put in their place by Kipling as only having one role in life.But having said all that the story is entertaining, as Stalky and his friends use their brains to subvert the rules and frustrate their teachers, all in preparation for doing the same once they were in the army. ( )
  AJBraithwaite | Aug 7, 2012 |
This book, besides being a rollicking good story, brings up a number of questions about education and the interactions among youths. By the lights of the early 21st century, Stalky is a bully, but then so is Robin Hood, who is obviously one of Stalky's role models. Is there a place for the righteous use of power in society? How do you know when you've moved off into unrighteous territory?

It's also obvious that these boys know much better than their masters what they actually need to know to survive in adult life. Instead of doing their school work, they go off and learn the local dialect and morés, pick up bits of engineering, tactics and statecraft when and where they can, and learn the school material that is most useful to them as individuals. They're also comfortable being outsiders. It looks rather idyllic, but then we're seeing the success stories. What do you do with people who don't thrive in this kind of environment?

Don't let my idle speculations get in the way of enjoying these stories the way Kipling meant you to. ( )
1 vote aulsmith | Jul 12, 2012 |
This is a gloriously anarchic collection of schoolboy adventures, but also a political tract arguing that Britain's military and political strength relies on the training boys get by spending their teenage years engaged in guerrilla warfare against incompetent and self-important schoolmasters. Obviously, this argument has its weaknesses, but we can read and enjoy the book without taking it too seriously.

Stalky & co. is essentially the template for the post-Victorian British school story, in which more attention is paid to fun and less to moralising. Stalky and his friends find plenty of opportunities in the course of the book to mock the Eric, or Little by little type of school story. One area in which other writers of school stories didn't follow Kipling's example is his utter lack of interest in team games. Cricket and rugby take place entirely off-stage and have no significant impact on the story. Later writers obviously heavily influenced by Stalky & co., from P.G. Wodehouse to J.K. Rowling, invariably take the easy way out and use The Big Match as the dramatic highpoint of their school stories. (Since I share Kipling's distaste for sports, this was one reason I quickly got bored with school stories and moved on to novels written for adults.)

Something I didn't really notice when I read this as a child was how very specific the locations are. Although it is never named, there is doubt at all that this is Kipling's old school, the United Services College in Devon. Conventional school stories are set in old and distinguished institutions with long years of tradition; Kipling foregrounds the differences from such places. The "Old Coll" is of relatively recent foundation, it has no traditions, it exists primarily to make money for its shareholders, and it is designed specifically to get the sons of expat empire-builders into empire-building professions themselves - something it clearly does well. The Head is a man of taste with a good library, but does not appear to be especially scholarly. In moral and disciplinary matters he is a supreme pragmatist - Stalky and his friends take great care to cover themselves legally when they launch one of their escapades, but the Head just punishes them anyway if the result is that he has to listen to tedious complaints from masters.
The escapades themselves are what you remember from the book, though. When Stalky gets even with someone, it isn't a matter of a bag of flour on top of a door: it is a subtle campaign of psychological warfare in which the victims are made to bring destruction upon themselves. You don't have to be 14 years old to appreciate these sories - most of them work just as well for adult readers. ( )
4 vote thorold | Apr 5, 2010 |
I did not like it!: Quite horrible! I am a Kipling enthusiast and own most of his published work. I find that, in general, the Kipling audio-books are enjoyable but not this one. The tales are not suitable for the female voice - the accent and mispronunciation of English place names equally inappropriate. If you have time to spare, compare this offering with the excellent "Plain tales from the hills" by Martin Jarvis

Roderick Deeming
  iayork | Aug 9, 2009 |
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In summer all right-minded boys built huts in the furze-hill behind the college - little lairs whittled out of the heart of the prickly bushes, full of stumps, odd root-ends, and spikes, but, since they were strictly forbidden, palaces of delight.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192838598, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:46 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

These stories are based on Kipling's own school, the United Services College at Westward Ho! in Devon, which prepared boys destined for the army or for colonial service.

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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400100259, 1400110998

 

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