Question: Who was Jane Austen? How do her novels give us a glimpse of the world of women in the general rural society in the early 19th century Britain?
How did Jane Austen portray the women of 19th century in her novel?
Answer: Jane Austen was an English novelist who gives us a glimpse of the world of women in the general rural society in the early 19th century. Her novels make us think about a society which encouraged women to look for ‘good’ marriages, and find wealthy or propertied husbands. The first sentence of Jane Austen’s (1775-1817) Pride and Prejudice states : ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ This observation allows us to see the behavior of the protagonists, who are preoccupied with marriage and money, as typifying Austen’s society.
Question: How did novels promote colonialism? Explain with an example of a novel.
What kind of novels were written for young boys in the 19th century? Explain.
How did novels make themselves relevant to young boys?
Explain any five features of novels written for the young in the last stage of 19 th century.
- New type of man: Novels for young boys idealized a new type of man : Someone who was powerful, assertive, independent and daring. Most of these novels were full of adventure set in places remote from Europe.
- Colonisers as hero and honourable: The colonisers appear heroic and honourable-Books like R.L. Stevenson’s’ Treasure Island (1883) or Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book (1894) became great hits.
- English Courage: G.A. Henty’s historical adventure novels for boys were also widely popular during the height of the British empire. They aroused the excitement and adventure of conquering strange lands. They were always about young boys who witness grand historical events, get involved in some military action, and show what they called the ‘English’ courage.
- Love stories and the young: Love stories written for adolescent girls also first became popular in this period, especially in the United States, notably Ramona (1884) by Helen Hunt Jackson and a series entitles What Katy Did (1872) by Sarah Chauncey Woolsey, who wrote under the pen-name Susan Coolidge.
Question: Explain the history of growth of novels in India.
Explain briefly the history of Hindi novel from starting to excellence.
- Beginning of the novels: The modern novel form developed in India in the nineteenth century, as Indians became familiar with the Western novel. The development of the vernaculars, print and a reading public helped in this process.
- Earliest Novels: Some of the earliest Indian novels were written in Bengali and Marathi. The earliest novel in Marathi was Baba Padmanji’s Yamuna Paryatan (1857), which used a simple style of storytelling to speak about the plight of widows. This was followed by Lakshman Moreshwar Halbe’s Muktamala (1861). This was not a realistic novel; it presented an imaginary ‘romance’ narrative with a moral purpose.
- Colonial period and novels: Novels began appearing in south Indian languages during the period of colonial rule. Quite a few early novels came out of attempts to translate English novels into Indian languages. For example, 0. Chandu Menon, a subjudge from Malabar, tried to translate an English novel called Henrietta Temple written by Benjamin Disraeli into Malayalam. But he quickly realised that his readers in Kerala were not familiar with the way in which the characters in English novels lived. So, he gave up this idea and wrote a delightful novel called Indulekha, which published in 1889 and, was the first modem novel in Malayalam.
- First Hindi novel: Many novels were actually translated and adapted from English and Bengali, but the first proper modern novel i.e. Pariksha Guru was written by Srinivas Das of Delhi.
Question: Explain briefly the history of Hindi novel.
- Pioneer of modem Hindi literature: In the north, Bharatendu Harishchandra, the pioneer of modern Hindi literature, encouraged many members of his circle of poets and writers to recreate and translate novels from other languages. Many novels were actually translated and adapted from English and Bengali under his influence, but the first proper modem novel was written by Srinivas Das of Delhi.
- Writings of Srinivas Das: Srinivas Das’s novel, Published in 1882, reflected the inner and outer world of the newly emerging middle class.
- Writings of Devaki Nandan Khatri: The writings of Devaki Nandan Khatri created a novel-reading public in Hindi. His best-seller, Chandrakanta – a romance with dazzling elements of fantasy – is believed to have contributed immensely in popularising the Hindi language and the Nagari script among the educated classes of those times.
Although it was apparently written purely for the ‘pleasure of reading’, this novel also gives some interesting insights into the fears and desires of its reading public.
- Munshi Premchand: It was with the writing of Premchand that the Hindi novel achieved excellence. He began writing in Urdu and then shifted to Hindi, remaining an immensely influential writer in both languages. He drew on the traditional art of kissa-goi (storytelling). Many critics think that his novel Sewasadan (The Abode of Service), published in 1916, lifted the Hindi novel from the realm of fantasy, moralising and simple entertainment to a serious reflection on the lives of ordinary people and social issues. Sewasadan deals mainly with the poor condition of women in society. Issues like child marriage and dowry.
Question: How had the different novelists of the colonial period taken up the task of modernization of the Indians? Explain.
- Chandu Menon portrayed Indulekha, as a woman of breathtaking beauty, high intellectual abilities and artistic talent with an education in English and Sanskrit.
- Madhavan, the hero of the novel, was also presented in ideal colours. He was a member of the newly English-educated class of Nayars from the University of Madras, presently known as Chennai.
- The hero was also a ‘first-rate Sanskrit scholar’. He was dressed in Western clothes. But, at the same time, he kept a long tuft of hair, according to the Nayar customs.
- The heroes and heroines in most of the novels were people who lived in the modern world. Thus, they were different from the ideal or mythological characters of the earlier poetic literature of India.
- Characters like Indulekha arid Madhavan showed readers how Indian and foreign lifestyles could be brought together in an ideal combination.