After the pioneer works by scholars such as Naik, Narasimhaiah and Mukherjee, and the thirty years of silence which followed their ground-breaking achievements, the Companion appears on the scene striving to reinvigorate the tradition of panoramic studies of Indian literature in English. In the intervening period, Indian fiction in English has become of paramount importance in the wide context of postcolonial studies: an emergent crop of novelists belonging to the so-called “new generation” has colourfully paved the way towards new artistic horizons, re-interpreting Western-derived literary models with inventive approaches. Complementary to their role there is the articulate presence of a host of Indian scholars who in recent years have significantly influenced the course of this analysis and have vitally contributed to enlarging its scope well beyond the original boundaries of studies in literary criticism.
The Companion, therefore, addresses the exigencies of critics, teachers and students alike-all those who need to find quick points of reference in this wide field of studies-by relying on a team of authoritative collaborators and specialists from all over the world. Great care was taken not only in selecting collaborators on the basis of their specialisation but also taking into account their cultural background in relation to the author they were to discuss. The book in fact has been organised to have what have been deemed to be the most representative authors in Indian fiction discussed in an essay-long chapter each, structured to highlight crucial points such as biographical details, novels and critical reception. Each chapter includes a final bibliography complete with primary and secondary sources, enabling the scholar to have immediate orientation on various specific topics. Finally, the book has an innovative section, with synopses of novels, planned to allow our readers to immediately place the authors analysed within the panorama of Indian fiction in English. The over 400 synopses included principally introduce works written by the novelists discussed at length in the previous chapters but, along with them, it is also possible to find summaries of works by authors who, although contributing in a significant way to the development of forms and techniques, do not feature in the first part.