Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Literature : Local or Global?

Thought of writing something about literature. And this post talks about whether literature can be global or local. Read more to find out.

Which do you enjoy most - story of Bangalore guy(if you are in Bangalore) or of some unknown guy in the streets of London or New York? Whatever may be the arguments, I feel that when you read story which involves the characters and environment of your home town or village, you will appreciate it much better. That's why Goruru Ramaswamy Iyengar's Naani makes more sense to us than Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer.

As such every literature is local. Author tries to explain his experiences in the local context only. In this era of globalization, literature is one area on which it had less impact. Though this is changing with the global internet connectivity and this virtual world changing people's lives across the world. People sharing their experiences in the web nowadays can make more sense around the world now.

So it was hard to identify Charles Dickens's David Copperfield among us whereas characters in Dr.Kota Shivaram Karanth's novels were easy to identify. When I say literature is local, language can not be a barrier. So it is more joyful to read R K Narayan's English novel Swami and friends and even imagine the imaginary town Malgudi. When it comes to humor writings, this is more prominent. There would be hardly anyone who had not enjoyed Padukone Ramanand Rao's Kodeya Vichara(if you had read that lesson in the school days).

Even when a Indian author travels to a foreign country, there too he sees it through the eyes of an Indian. So when you read travelogue of a Indian author, it is more convincing. So you will sure enjoy Goruru Ramaswamy Iyengar's humorous travelogue Amerikadalli Goruru.

But there may be exceptions. Urbanites who would have grown in different environment may find convincing and make more sense out of the writings of a foreign author.

Your comments are welcome.

other news : Sad to see Cricket tri-series in Lanka, first becoming bi-series and then a monoseries (with Lanka at home, just kidding). But rain disrupting the series is nothing new to the series played in Lanka. But this is one of the few occassions when the entire series had to be called off.



  1. I think we can't just generalize this point. I am not a urbanite basically (I have lived more of my life in a village than in a city), but I enjoyed all English Novels that I read. I also enjoy Bhyrappa's novels.
    I think whether you enjoy something or not depends on the exposure u get since childhood, including the education..

  2. Of course, we can't generalize it. But the point here is that how easily you are going to identify the novel characters among us.

    Urbanite example in the post was just one of the exceptions and definitely education and our growing environment certainly have a say in your tastes of literature.

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  4. And your analysis skills change with age and knowledge you receive over the years. The novel which you might have read in the child hood may mean different now.

  5. raveesh, your post could have been more elaborate. anyway its a nice topic to be discussed.

    In my opinion its unfair to classify Literature into local and global. Sometime its unavoidable. A literary work written in local language becomes 'local literature' eventhough topic is universal.

    The novel which you might have read in the child hood may mean different now.
    ur are right raveesh. since our belief system changes as we grow. swami and friends would be favorite book for us in childhood but now it may be books such 'The monk who sold his ferrari'

  6. both local and global literature are good in their own way. But local literature I prefer to read in Kannada rather than in english

  7. your observation is very different one. but as a reader and a writerI think, the identification of one with the characters is entirely depended on situations. swami and tom sawyer both are naughty devils. And I have loved both of them. But Gabriel garcia sounds more true and near to me than any characters of Bhayrappa. Of course dickens and roth don't make sense to meb at all. But it is same with Anantha murthy also. I never understood bhava and bet you too can't. See, when writers write they take situations from their surrroundings or do a detailed research of the surrounding on which he/she writes. if you happened to be part of the same surrounding, of which the writer is involved, you feel it is your story. while reading Veronica decides to die, I felt it was so much of my story than reading kuvempu. But Tejaswi always made me go nostalgic to Navodayan days and makes me wonder what have I missed in those forests!!!!!!

    So I think, the identification of the character with the reader is with the familiarity of the situation.

  8. @Sufi,

    Thats what I exactly meant by local. You will recognize the literary characters when you are grown up in su ch a environment



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