The Limits and Potentials of Narrative Form: Recent Indian Fiction in English

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Dokumentart: Dissertation
Date: 2021-11-02
Language: English
Faculty: 5 Philosophische Fakultät
Department: Anglistik, Amerikanistik
Advisor: Reinfandt, Christoph (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2021-05-17
DDC Classifikation: 820 - English and Old English literatures
Other Keywords:
Indian Fiction in English
21st-Century Novels
Narrative Form
Experimental Literature
Realist Literature
Construction of Realities
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The study “The Limits and Potentials of Narrative Form: Recent Indian Fiction in English” aims to offer a new approach to narrative form, demonstrating that each formal arrangement of a work of fiction has its specific limits and potentials, and produces specific effects in relation to other forms and the content. Inventive formal arrangements in twenty-first-century Indian English novels (that draw attention to the limitations of a simplistic binary opposition between realist and experimental) have given rise to this unconventional but fruitful approach to Indian English fiction, so far mainly examined through the lens of Postcolonial Studies with a focus on content-related concerns. After pointing out the difficulties in classifying novels as either realist or experimental, this study develops a more inclusive approach to narrative form by making the forms Caroline Levine identifies in her study “Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network” (2015) fruitful for literary analysis in their sociopolitical context. The emergence of these forms is traced in close readings of recent Indian novels in English, showing that there is an increasing shift from wholeness and a unifying understanding of social and formal arrangements towards pluralisation and network structures. The novels thus constitute multiple realities, acknowledge the absence of a clear vanishing point of perspectives in Indian society and indicate a pluralisation of voices, which points to the contingency and arbitrariness of power relations.

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