Contexts and intertexts
in R.K. Narayan
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R. K. Narayan's invented South Indian town of Malgudi, which is the setting for virtually all his fiction, has been seen by many of his readers as a site that represents quintessential Indianness. In various readings, Malgudi becomes a metonym for a traditional India, a locus that exists outside time and apart from the forces of modernity, a site which the complicitous ‘we’ used in both passages will immediately recognise as ‘authentic’. Tamil intertexts become more prominent in the second half of Narayan's career, but they occur in a dialectical relationship with his Western influences and novels such as The Guide. He may have chosen to write in English and for the most part turned his back on Tamil intertexts, but Tamil brahmin contexts are omnipresent in his work. Narayan's fiction is underpinned by four stages: the brahmacharya, grihastya, vanaprastha and sanyasa.

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