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The genre making of Restoration fiction
Author: Gerd Bayer

Novel horizons analyses how narrative prose fiction developed during the English Restoration. It argues that following the reopening of the theatres in 1660, generic changes within dramatic texts occasioned an intense debate within prologues and introductions. This discussion about the poetics of a genre was echoed in the paratextual material of prose fictions: in trans¬lators’ introductions, authorial prefaces, and other accompanying material. In the absence of an official poetics that defined prose fiction, paratexts ful¬filled this function and informed readers about the changing features of the budding genre. This study traces the piecemeal development of these generic boundaries and describes the generic competence of readers through the detailed analysis of paratexts and actual narrative prose fictions. Rather than trying to canonize individual Restoration novels, Novel horizons covers the surviving textual material widely, focusing on narrative prose fictions published between 1660 and 1710. Drawing on genre theories by Jacques Derrida and M.M. Bakhtin, the study follows an approach to genre that sees a textual corpus as an archive that projects into the future, thereby enabling later readers and writers to experiment with forms and themes. In addition to tracing the paratextual poetics of Restoration fiction, a substantial section of this book covers the state of the art of fiction-writing during the period. It discusses aspects such as character development, narrative point of view, and questions of fictionality and realism in order to describe how these features were first used in popular fiction at the time.

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John Thieme

5 Late novels The Painter of Signs is Narayan’s last major novel. The fiction that he produced in his seventies and eighties is variable in quality, but generally demonstrates a falling-off in his talents. Nevertheless it develops interesting variations on several of the defining themes of his work, particularly the passage into the fourth stage of the varnasramadharma, the discursive constitution of space, oral mythologies and Hindu reverence for animal life and the natural world. The last of these concerns is central to both the theme and the point of view of

in R.K. Narayan
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John Thieme

2 Early novels Narayan’s 1950 comment, quoted at the beginning of the previous chapter, on his inconclusive endings in his ‘Self-Obituary’, continues by providing examples of his supposed crime of leaving his characters in mid-air. He particularly focuses on the open endings of his first four novels, grouping them together in a single paragraph.1 His interrogators from the ‘I.T.F.K.E.O.N’ (‘INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL FOR KEEPING an [sic] EYE ON NOVELISTS’) tell him: […] You have left Swami (of Swami and Friends [sic]) standing on a railway platform watching a

in R.K. Narayan
Open Access (free)
Sara Haslam

2 Novel perspectives D. H. Lawrence’s essay ‘Why the Novel Matters’,1 focuses on issues of communication and plurality as displayed by the effective novel. Christopher Gillie cites this important essay at the beginning of his book on English literature from 1900 to 1940; he uses it to help create the relevant context for the modernist revolution.2 The ideas in it echo those found in Chapter 1 of this book: the fight for communication that the novel represents; the ability of writing to stretch and extend human experience; the novelistic provision, in tune with

in Fragmenting modernism

This book explores the history of postwar England during the end of empire through a reading of novels which appeared at the time. Several genres are discussed, including the family saga, travel writing, detective fiction and popular romances. In the mid 1950s, Montagu Slater's brief essay in Arena is the first of a group of contributions, with the authors' warning of a growing American monopoly in cultural expression. Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Josephine Tey are now the best remembered representatives of the distaff side of Britain's Golden Age of crime fiction which extended well into the early postwar period. The book focuses on the reception of John Masters' novels, the sequence of novels known as the 'Savage family saga'. William Golding's 'human condition' is very much an English condition, diagnosed amid the historical upheavals of the mid-twentieth century. Popular romance novels were read by thousands throughout Britain and across the world, and can be understood as a constituent element in a postwar colonial discourse. William Boyd's fiction displays a marked alertness to the repercussions of fading imperial grandeur; his A Good Man in Africa, explores the comic possibilities of Kinjanja, a fictional country based on Nigeria. Penelope Lively's tangential approach to writing about empire in Moon Tiger suggests ambivalence and uncertainty about how to represent a colonial past which is both recent and firmly entrenched in ideas of national identity.

Mr Sampath to Waiting for the Mahatma
John Thieme

3 Middle-period novels: Mr Sampath to Waiting for the Mahatma Beginning with Mr Sampath: The Printer of Malgudi (1949) and culminating with The Painter of Signs (1976), the novels of Narayan’s middle period represent his finest achievement. The protagonists of these novels are usually small businessmen in the second asrama of life, whose occupations are contemporary versions of the scribal and priestly roles traditionally undertaken by Tamil brahmins. Sampath in Mr Sampath and Nataraj in The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1961) are printers and printers also figure

in R.K. Narayan
W. J. McCormack

The House by the Church-yard had included less concentrated inquiries of a kind similar to those conducted in the stories of 1861-2. Whether for financial reasons alone or otherwise, Le Fanu was obliged to abandon Irish historical settings in all his subsequent full-length novels. The last instalment of the Chapelizod saga appeared in the

in Dissolute characters
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Rachel Sykes

1 The quiet novel Quiet is a dynamic term. Whether constructed as a noun, adjective, adverb or verb, the word is older and more diverse than quietness or quietude and miscellaneous enough to remain applicable to many situations, states and, as this study argues, fictions. The third edition of the OED notes that the earliest use of ‘quiet’ as a noun appears in 1330, followed by ‘quietness’ in 1425, ‘quietude’ in 1598 and ‘quietism’ in 1687. ‘Loud’ is older and dates back to 800 with fewer listed meanings; ‘noise’ is only a century older than quiet and defined as

in The quiet contemporary American novel
Fiction and the inter-war broad left
Steven Fielding

5 Novels for ‘thinking people’: fiction and the inter-war broad left Steven Fielding Duncan Tanner first made his reputation studying the rise of the Labour party during the first decades of the twentieth century. His work was underpinned by a broad understanding of what constituted the ‘political’ and as a result was always fascinated by the complex patterns produced by the collision between formal Labour politics and popular culture. Duncan and the present author organised a conference in 2005 designed to encourage political historians to engage more with

in The art of the possible
The Guide to The Painter of Signs
John Thieme

4 Middle-period novels: The Guide to The Painter of Signs Despite his involvement with Graham Greene and his tailoring aspects of his fiction to suit British tastes, Narayan did not travel outside India until the second half of his life. Then, after receiving a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship that took him to the United States in 1956, he paid a number of visits to American universities, among them the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Texas at Austin. Notable among these was a period as Visiting Professor at the University of Missouri

in R.K. Narayan