â€œThe Train Has Moved Onâ€: R.K. Narayanâ€™s <i>The Guide</i> and Literary History
The critical reception of R.K. Narayanâ€™s fourteen novels over a period of more than half a century has established him as the most popular of the three founding fathers ofÂ the modern Indian novel in English. Nearly 900 publications â€“ 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 â€“ exceed by far the attention paid to Mulk Raj Anand, or Raja Raoâ€™s achievement. They testify, besides, to the sustained interest in Narayanâ€™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), Narayanâ€™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.Â
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