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R. K. Narayan
Transcript of R. K. Narayan
Eight years at Lutheran Mission School -Madras
short time at the CRC High School
bachelor's degree from the University of Mysore.
1. Swami and Friends (1935)
2. Bachelor of Art (1973)
3. The Dark Room (1938)
4. The English Teacher (1945)
5. The Guide (1958)
6. The Painter of Signs (1976)
(b) Story Collections :
1. Malgudi Days
2. Dodu and Other Stories
3. Cyclone and Other Stories
4. Gods, Demons and Others (1964)
(c) Autobiography :
1. My Days (1974)
2. My Dateless Diary (1960)
(d) Other Works :
1. Ramayana. It is an English version of the Tamil epic by Kamban.
2. The Emerald Route (1978), It is a travelogue wherein his younger brother R.K. Laxman, the famous cartoonist, has given the sketches.
Birth and Death
R.K. Narayan - Rasipuram Krishnaswami Narayan, original name Rasipuram Krishnaswami Narayanswami
Born: October 10, 1906 Madras
Died: May 13, 2001
Achievement: Felicitated with Sahitya Akademi Award and Padma Bhushan.
Father - provincial head master
early childhood with his maternal grandmother
Awards and Honours
Sahitya Akademi Award for The Guide in 1958
Padma Bhushan in 1964
AC Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature in 1980
Elected an honorary member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1982
Nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1989
Honorary doctorates by the University of Mysore, Delhi University and the University of Leeds.
A novelist of all humanity
R. K. Narayan’s novels are like a box of Indian sweets - highly-coloured container conceals - delectable treats - different in a subtle way but from the
He belonged both to an old world and a new
his birth in 1906 the British Raj, that astonishing imperial conceit, was firmly in place, as were those iron-clad notions of caste that were to prove so difficult to shrug off
British presence in India - brought with it a large civil service, an educational system, and railways
which tells us a great deal about his boyhood years and the inception and development of his literary career.
The writer in the colonized country tended to soak up the culture of the colonial power and feel a familiarity and some affection for it, even though the experience of colonialism may have demoralized and de-stabilized his own colonized culture.
Nature of his novels
Swami and Friends
- Narayan’s first novel, is a novel of boyhood which draws heavily on his own experiences.
Experienced similar rejection with the short stories
Swami and Friends was still doing the rounds in London, with no success -Greene was sufficiently excited by the book to recommend and secure its publication in October
Bachelor of Arts
- Narayan’s personal experience of the vagaries of matrimonial astrology was later reflected in the highly amusing
account of astrological discussions in his second novel.
The English Teacher
- Narayan’s writing entered a period of greater maturity and confidence
autobiographical element- which had been allowing him to develop his characters more freely - successful literary figure both in India and abroad.
His mind was clear to the end, and on his
death-bed he spoke of his desire to write another novel "‘I have become lazy since I entered my nineties"
novels are sometimes described as simple
The prose is indeed limpid, the descriptions clear, and the emphasisis on direct and intelligible storytelling, invoking a cast of vivid characters.
Narayan is a storyteller first and foremost - great nineteenth-century novelists
novels convey the taste and texture of India with a vividness which strikes the reader as utterly true.
The favoured setting of Narayan’s novels
an imaginary town which he describes as having ‘swum into view’ when he sat down to write Swami and Friends.
Provides the strong sense of place which suffuses these books
India distilled – an urban India
This voice is sensitive to a distinctive tradition in which the accumulated beliefs and social practices of centuries inform the smallest act.
first phase of Narayan’s career as a novelist.
Boyhood (Swamiand Friends),
Education and the finding of a role in life (The Bachelor of Arts), and
Marriage (The Dark Room and The English Teacher).
Swami and Friends
Swami and Friends is
episodic in nature, which is exactly what the life of a young
boy tends to be.
The portrayal of Swami’s relationship with Rajam,
the son of a senior police officer, reveals how posturing and
social embarrassment can loom large in the dealings a boy has
with his friends.
we are given an early sight of the
humour which runs through Narayan’s novels -
British colonialism was the export of cricket, a game
which strikes North Americans as being opaque and slowmoving.
The grandmother represents the old India, a
world in which cricket is not played.
Narayan to portray the naive aspirations of the boys.
The cricket episode also allows Narayan to portray the naive aspirations of the boys. This is a familiar theme in many of his works, where so many of the characters are striving for something which is often just beyond their grasp.
The Bachelor of Arts
The Bachelor of Arts, again contains
autobiographical elements but is much more satisfying in its
structure than Swami.