Stalky & Co

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Stalky & Co. is a novel by Rudyard Kipling about adolescent boys at a British boarding school. It is a collection of school stories whose juvenile protagonists display a know-it-all, cynical outlook on patriotism and authority. It was first published in 1899 (following serialisation in the Windsor Magazine). It is set at a school dubbed "the College" or "the Coll.", which is based on the actual United Services College that Kipling attended as a boy. The character Beetle, one of the main trio, is partly based on Kipling himself, while the charismatic character Stalky is based on Lionel Dunsterville, M'Turk is based on George Charles Beresford, Mr King is based on William Carr Crofts, and the school Head, Mr. Bates, is based on Cormell Price.

The stories have elements of revenge, the macabre, bullying and violence, and hints about sex, making them far from childish or idealised. For example, Beetle pokes fun at an earlier, more earnest, boys' book, Eric, or, Little by Little, thus flaunting his more worldly outlook. The final chapter recounts events in the lives of the boys when, as adults, they are in the armed forces in India. It is implied that the mischievous pranks of the boys in school was splendid training for their role as instruments of the British Empire. Wikipedia.

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