Indian fiction In English

Course Number: 
HUL 239
LTP structure: 


NLN 100

Course Objective

This course aims to introduce students to the growing body of prose in English that has been emerging from post-independence India, with particular focus on the novel. In addition to examining the question, a highly-vexed one, of the 'Indian-ness' of such writing in linguistic and stylistic terms, it will interrogate the patterns of production and consumption of Indian English novels set in place predominantly by global publishing networks.


Course Content

The course involves a detailed study of 3-4 texts corresponding to the distinct phases of literary activity in the genre: the early period of the 1940s and 50s in which writers like Mulk Raj Anand, Raja Rao and R.K. Narayan made their presence felt, before Salman Rushdie, and more quietly, Amitav Ghosh and Vikram Seth, erupted into the scene in the 1980s, spawning a generation of writers attaining international acclaim - Arundhati Roy, Aravind Adiga, Kiran Desai, and many others. Some of the questions that will be addressed are: Who constitutes the main audience for this writing, and (how) does the writing cater to it? How does one position the expatriate Indian writer both residing and publishing abroad? How does English become an Indian language? Is there a thematic congruence in the novels that fall under this category, and does it differ from the thematic concerns of novels written in other Indian languages? Students will be encouraged to read a novel in at least one other Indian language in order to allow them to pose these questions in a more pointed manner.

Suggested Reading List

Rao, R. Kanthapura. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1938.

Anand, M.R. Untouchable. New Delhi: Penguin, 1935.

Rushdie, S. The Moor's Last Sigh. London: Jonathan Cape, 1995.

Ghosh, A. The Shadow Lines. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Nagarkar, K. Ravan and Eddie.New Delhi: Penguin, 1995.

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