1st Edition

The Domain of the Novel Reflections on Some Historical Definitions

By A. N. Kaul Copyright 2021
    112 Pages
    by Routledge India

    112 Pages
    by Routledge India

    The Domain of the Novel: Reflections on Some Historical Definitions discusses the genre of the novel and its dialogic and dialectical characteristics through an in-depth analysis of some classic English, Russian, American and Indian novels. A collection of lectures by the distinguished scholar of literature, A. N. Kaul, it analyses the exploration of personal voices and histories within a larger socio-political landscape in these works.

    Drawing examples from the works of Fielding, George Eliot, Dickens, Thackeray, Melville, Hawthorne, Twain, R.K. Narayan and others, who defined and redefined the territories of the novel, this book examines the articulation of the lived social, political and material realities of ordinary individuals in this genre. The lectures situate the novels within their cultural, socio-political, and historical contexts while focusing on their historical continuity and relevance. They further demonstrate how the domain of the novel brings together a multitude of voices while discussing conflicts of class, identity, nationalism, and historiography.

    The volume includes an insightful critical introduction by Sambudha Sen. It will be of great interest to researchers and scholars of literature, cultural studies, post-colonial studies, literary theory, creative writing, history, and sociology. It will be especially useful for readers interested in studying forms of fiction and the 18th, 19th, and 20th century novel.

    Foreword by Mythili Kaul. Introduction by Sambudha Sen. 1. ‘A New Province of Writing’ 2. Nationality and the Novel 3. Ideology and the Novel 4. ‘What is Past, or Passing, or to Come:’ Hawthorne and the Idea of Historical Continuity. Index.


    A. N. Kaul (1930-2017), Rhodes Scholar, B.Litt. from the University of Oxford, Fulbright and Rockefeller Fellow, Ph.D. in American Studies at Yale where his dissertation, The American Vision: Actual and Ideal Society in Nineteenth-Century Fiction, won both the John Addison Porter and George Egleston History Prizes and was published by the Yale University Press in 1963. Considered a path-breaking study it continues to be relevant. Apart from articles and reviews, he is the author of The Action of English Comedy: Studies in the Encounter of Abstraction and Experience from Shakespeare to Shaw (1970); History, Sociology and the American Romance (1990); and edited Hawthorne in the 20th Century Views series (1966). He had a distinguished teaching career. Starting at Delhi College (now Zakir Hussain College), University of Delhi, he was Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Yale, and, deciding to return to India, Professor (and Head for several years) of English at the University of Delhi and, later, Pro-Vice-Chancellor. He was Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, the University of Kashmir, Sir George Williams (now Concordia) University, Montreal, the University of Texas at Austin on two separate occasions and Oberlin College, Ohio. He moved permanently to Edmonton, Alberta, in 2012.

    Sambudha Sen is Professor and Head, Department. of English, Shiv Nadar University, studied at the University of Delhi, his doctoral work was on Charles Dickens, and he taught there for several years becoming Professor and Head, Dept. of English, before moving to his present position. He has held fellowships, among other places, at Cambridge University, Bellagio, the Huntingdon Library and Columbia University, and been Visiting Professor at Jadavpur and Calcutta Universities. He has published widely and his articles on the 18th and19th century novel have appeared in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Victorian Studies and his book London, Radical Expression and the Making of the Dickensian Aesthetic (2012).

    Mythili Kaul is a retired Professor and a former Head, Department of English, University of Delhi, taught there throughout her career. Her doctoral work at Yale was on Shakespeare's Romances and she has published articles on Shakespeare in national and international journals and edited Othello: New Essays by Black Writers (1997).

    ‘Professor A.N. Kaul’s essays are deeply-informed, wide-ranging critiques of novelistic practices, as well as of critical approaches to them. They represent Professor Kaul at his humane, insightful, sparkling best, and this volume is a wonderful testimonial to his legendary pedagogy.’ — Suvir Kaul, A. M. Rosenthal Professor, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania

    ‘These four posthumous essays by Professor A.N. Kaul constitute a treasure-trove of immensely important reflections on the formation of the novel. They traverse early novels and their self-understandings across several continents and centuries maintaining the integrity of each while effortlessly weaving diverse contexts and works into a unified literary realm. The essays bring together the individual/domestic and the political/ideological that went into the novel’s making in different ways and with different meanings. They also trace their genesis in, and overlaps with, other literary and discursive Genres. The luminous prose of the essays recalls the best of the novelists.’ — Tanika Sarkar, Retired Professor, Modern History, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

    ‘The previously unpublished essays of A. N. Kaul are like gifts from one of the most insightful, imaginative, and distinctive interpreters of Hawthorne and his generation. Reading these thoughtful essays is like being freed from chilly and disenchanted days by a warm, optimistic, and consistently incisive critic whose lyrical writing and generous intelligence represents the best of a classic era of American literary criticism. Accessible and fascinating, these essays will charm and enlighten any enthusiast of fiction from a wide range of periods and places.’ — Christopher Castiglia, author of The Practices of Hope: Literary Criticism in Disenchanted Times, Distinguished Professor of English, Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania