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.