AUTHOR OF THE WEEK

R.K.Narayan

Biography Of R.K.Narayan

R.K. Narayan is one of the most famous and widely read Indian novelists. His stories were grounded in a compassionate humanism and celebrated the humour and energy of ordinary life.

R.K. Narayan was born on October 10, 1906 in Madras. His father was a provincial head master. R.K. Narayan spent his early childhood with his maternal grandmother, Parvathi in Madras and used to spend only a few weeks each summer visiting his parents and siblings. R.K. Narayan studied for eight years at Lutheran Mission School close to his grandmother’s house in Madras, also for a short time at the CRC High School. When his father was appointed headmaster of the Maharaja’s High School in Mysore, R.K. Narayan moved back in with his parents.

R.K. Narayan obtained his bachelor’s degree from Mysore University and devoted almost whole life as a writer. He started by writing short stories which appeared in The Hindu’; and he also worked as a Mysore Correspondent of Justice’, a newspaper from Madras.

R.K. Narayan began his writing career with Swami and Friends in 1935. Most of his work including Swami and friends is set in the fictional town of Malgudi which captures everything Indian while having a unique identity of its own. R.K. Narayan’s writing style was marked by simplicity and subtle humour. He told stories of ordinary people trying to live their simple lives in a changing world.

Narayan is the true master of humour, irony, realism, romance and artistry. His stories are set in South India where like Thomas Hardy’s Wessel; he created a famous town of Algoid. Some critics, however, hold that he lacks true pathos, genuine depth of feeling, realistic description of poverty and misery-the element which make a novelist really great.

Narayan accepts the social system prevailing in the country and portrays it realistically without making an attempt to castigate the ills of the society. He deals with the middle class which he knows very intimately, as also the plight of the underdog. It is sad that he makes no attempt to present India in an exotic light for the sake of foreign readers.

R.K. Narayan’s famous works include The Bachelor of Arts (1937), The Dark Room (1938), The English Teacher (1945), The Financial Expert (1952), The Guide (1958), The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1961), The Vendor of Sweets (1967), Malgudi Days (1982), and The Grandmother’s Tale (1993).

R.K. Narayan won numerous awards and honors for his works. These include: Sahitya Akademi Award for The Guide in 1958; Padma Bhushan in 1964; and AC Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature in 1980; R.K. Narayan was elected an honorary member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1982. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1989. Besides, he was also conferred honorary doctorates by the University of Mysore, Delhi University and the University of Leeds.

Works of R.K. Narayan

(a) Novels :
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.

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