Chapter

Critical overview and conclusion

Stuart Hampton-Reeves and Carol Chillington Rutter

in R. K. Narayan

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780719059261
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701249 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719059261.003.0006
Critical overview and conclusion

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Graham Greene's shadow has hung over much of the critical response to R. K. Narayan's fiction, particularly reviews of his novels. Greene's view of Narayan as a mediator of essential Indianness for his Western sensibility recurs in the remarks of various later Western commentators, particularly prior to the advent of the post-Rushdie generation of fiction writers. Numerous other critics have considered aspects of Narayan's Hinduism, with the more perceptive commentators stressing the secular nature of his vision. For biographical information, Narayan's memoir My Days (1964) is the most important single source, while his encounters with American life are detailed in My Dateless Diary (1964). Narayan's treatment of gender has received attention from critics who have mainly been concerned with examining his representation of the role of women in twentieth-century South Indian life. Narayan's novels have also been read in numerous other ways. He has been seen as a commentator on Gandhianism, colonialism and cricket, amid many other things. Finally, though, Narayan has always been seen as the chronicler of Malgudi.

Keywords: R. K. Narayan; Graham Greene; novels; Indianness; Hinduism; My Days; My Dateless Diary; gender; women; Malgudi

Chapter.  3160 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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