R. K. Narayan

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R. K. Narayan

R. K. Narayan (10 October 190613 May 2001), full name Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami, was an Indian writer, best known for his works set in the fictional South Indian town of Malgudi. He is one of three leading figures of early Indian literature in English (alongside Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao), and is credited with bringing the genre to the rest of the world. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature several times, but never won the honor.


  • I have no idea of the extent of this zoo. I know only my corner and whatever passes before me.
  • Society presses upon us all the time. The progress of the last half century is the progress of the frog out of his well.

About R. K. Narayan[edit]

  • Unflinchingly traditional outlook
    • Edwin Gerow's view in "Unflinchingly traditional outlook", page=89.
  • There is something very arch and elusive about Narayan’s treatment of India and Indians. The key to the Malgudi cycle appears to me to lie in the complicated nature of Narayan’s conservatism. He is typically (and orthodox) Hindu in his celebration of the static. Yet Narayan is ready to admit extreme scepticism about the genuineness of Indian ‘Godmen’ and their disciples and to see comedy rather than tragedy as an appropriate fictional reflection of India’s long and frequently catastrophic history.
    • H.M. Williams in “Unflinchingly traditional outlook”, page=89.
  • R. K Narayan is delightfully conscious of the disappearance of the caste system.
    • Mathur in “ Unflinchingly traditional outlook”, page=90.
  • Significantly, it’s the western penetration of Indian life to level from which the character and events draw their sustenance that has been portrayed by R.K. Narayan in his novels. However, the ironical attitude itself, so characteristics of R.K. Narayan, is largely western; it has few parallels, if any, in pre-modern Indian authors.
    • Mathur in “ Unflinchingly traditional outlook”, page=91.
  • As a storyteller, he was a natural, picking at the bedrock of everyday existence to uncover the barest truths and tease out the bald facts of life. Not surprisingly, comparisons have been drawn between Narayan and William Faulkner, whose novels were grounded in a compassionate humanism and celebrated the humour and energy of ordinary life.
  • Paved the ways. Yes, Narayan did that by writing about ordinary men and women, by translating the Indian experience into English, by doing it so easily, comfortably and without any affectation whatsoever, that it seemed enormously simple.But it's never simple. Only a writer knows how difficult this is. And it's because of what he did that it was possible for all the writers who followed to travel more comfortably; the road had been paved to a certain extent. As a writer I admire this almost invisible achievement. As a writer I admire him too for the fact that while his contemporaries seem dated, that while they have been relegated to the back shelves, he is still read and enjoyed. I envy him for his large and dedicated readership all over the world -- a readership that consists of ordinary readers as well as academics, critics and writers of acclaim.

External links[edit]

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