“The Train Has Moved On”: R.K. Narayan’s <i>The Guide</i> and Literary History


  • Dieter Riemenschneider, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany




The critical reception of R.K. Narayan’s fourteen novels over a period of more than half a century has established him as the most popular of the three founding fathers of  the modern Indian novel in English. Nearly 900 publications – monographs and essay collections, contributions to learned journals and magazines, reviews of single works in diverse media, and filmed versions of at least two works – exceed by far the attention paid to Mulk Raj Anand, or Raja Rao’s achievement. They testify, besides, to the sustained interest in Narayan’s narrative oeuvre that ranges from Swami and Friends (1935) to The World of Nagaraj (1989). An overview will give an idea of the number of critical responses during the periods 1935-1970, the 1970s, the 1980s, and 1990-2004. Besides, it will permit a close look at The Guide (1958), Narayan’s most popular novel. Its literary innovative features will show that this story, though embedded in the intermediate period between the late colonial and the early independence years in India, is a forerunner of the post-1980s Indian novel in English. 



Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Dieter Riemenschneider, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany

Jörg-Dieter Riemenschneider was Professor of Commonwealth literature/English Language Literatures at the University of Frankfurt (1972-99), Lecturer in German at Punjab University, Chandigarh and Delhi University, and Visiting Professor at IIT Madras, the Universities of Nice and Lyon, and Massey University, New Zealand. He edited ACOLIT (1977-99), published numerous articles on Indian, African, Australian, New Zealand, and Pacific literatures and sixteen books, among them Shiva Tanzt (3rd ed. 2004), ed. Postcolonial Theory: A Selected and Annotated Bibliography (2004, 2006), The Reception of the Indian Novel in English: Its Critical Discourse 1934-2004 (2005), ed. Reise nach Indien: Kulturkompass fürs Handgepäck (Journey to India: A Cultural Compass for Your Hand Luggage, 2007). Wildes Licht (Wild Light), his bilingual anthology of Aotearoa New Zealand poetry, will be released in March 2010.




How to Cite

Riemenschneider, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany, D. (2009). “The Train Has Moved On”: R.K. Narayan’s &lt;i&gt;The Guide&lt;/i&gt; and Literary History. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 3(2), 88–100. https://doi.org/10.31436/asiatic.v3i2.102