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Thread: Does writing a novel in English makes it an English literature?

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    Caddy smells like trees caddy_caddy's Avatar
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    Does writing a novel in English makes it an English literature?

    I had a debate with my friends about the authors who write novels in English.
    For example, Ahdaf Souif from Egypt and Arundhati Roy from India.
    A Novel, particularly is an English form; Arabs for instance had only poetry; the form is borrowed from the West.
    So what do u call their novels ? Egyptian and Indian novels or English novels ?

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    Registered User Clovis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caddy_caddy View Post
    I had a debate with my friends about the authors who write novels in English.
    For example, Ahdaf Souif from Egypt and Arundhati Roy from India.
    A Novel, particularly is an English form; Arabs for instance had only poetry; the form is borrowed from the West.
    So what do u call their novels ? Egyptian and Indian novels or English novels ?
    I suppose so, some English might disagree.

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    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    When you refer to (x) novels, the (x) is generally country of origin. You could say novels written in English, but English novels tend to refer to ones produced in England. So even if an Egyptian wrote in English, I would think it is an Egyptian novel.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

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    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caddy_caddy View Post
    I had a debate with my friends about the authors who write novels in English.
    For example, Ahdaf Souif from Egypt and Arundhati Roy from India.
    A Novel, particularly is an English form; Arabs for instance had only poetry; the form is borrowed from the West.
    So what do u call their novels ? Egyptian and Indian novels or English novels ?
    Caddy, your question is germane to my context in Nepal too. Novel writing is not the product of the Nepalese literary genre. We too have a tradition of poetry and our great writers a couple of centuries ago were not novelists. Novels invaded the Nepalese literary domain only 100 years ago and prior to that we had epics, dramas and the like. Today novels are written
    within the western mold and though it is a borrowed genre of writing we call it ours culturally, socially and nationally. Today, particularly with the colonization of eastern countries, in fact both middle-east, southern east and far east nations, English is spreading like a wildfire and even if we loathe it there is no option. As a small boy I learned English in my early babyhood but could never master it though I have been reading English books for decades. Today globalization has furthered the use of English on a global scale. If I do write novels in English, in fact I have been planning, it would be absolutely Nepali. The spirit is Nepali; the theme is Nepali; the subject is Nepali; the background is Nepali; the characterization is Nepali; the writer is Nepali but the language is an imported one used by a Nepali keeping a larger community in mind.

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

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    Registered User Clovis's Avatar
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    Translations are also English lit. in a mammoth artistic sense, at least imo. Garnett's link to Dostoevsky, Rosner's link to Hesse, etc. etc.

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    Voice of Chaos & Anarchy
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    Quote Originally Posted by caddy_caddy View Post
    I had a debate with my friends about the authors who write novels in English.
    For example, Ahdaf Souif from Egypt and Arundhati Roy from India.
    A Novel, particularly is an English form; Arabs for instance had only poetry; the form is borrowed from the West.
    So what do u call their novels ? Egyptian and Indian novels or English novels ?
    Yes, literature is anything which is written, and English simply tells what language it is in. Everything written in English is English literature.

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    Registered User ralfyman's Avatar
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    They are usually seen as literature in English.

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    Registered User Clovis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralfyman View Post
    They are usually seen as literature in English.
    Really!? How about that!

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    Caddy smells like trees caddy_caddy's Avatar
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    well, let's collect the criteria you mentionned in your posts:
    The nationality of the author
    the place of production
    the subject matter of the novel itself
    the language written in it

    I subscribe to the nationality of the author and the subject matter of the novel itself.
    For instance , Jibran khalil Jibran lived in the states , produced there and wrote in English .yet " they say " in the Congress Library they don't label his books under American Literature.

    As Harold says , it's the spirit of the novel itself. The English novel was first known as the genre that propagates the ideology of the English bourgeoisie. So , following the same logic , Ahdaf Souif and Roy's novels would be Egyptian and Indian .

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    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    Yes, literature is anything which is written, and English simply tells what language it is in. Everything written in English is English literature.


    Find me one person who refers to The Great Gatsby as the "Great English novel." It has been called one of the greatest novels written in English, but not an English novel.
    Last edited by Charles Darnay; 12-26-2012 at 11:47 AM.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

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    Caddy smells like trees caddy_caddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralfyman View Post
    They are usually seen as literature in English.
    yeh literature in English not English literature.

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    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caddy_caddy View Post
    The English novel was first known as the genre that propagates the ideology of the English bourgeoisie...
    Where did you get this from?
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

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    Caddy smells like trees caddy_caddy's Avatar
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    from books

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    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    It is very misleading. In fact, two of the authors who are instrumental in the rise of the novel as a literary form - Defoe and Fielding - are highly critical of this ideology.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

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    Voice of Chaos & Anarchy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Darnay View Post
    Find me one person who refers to The Great Gatsby as the "Great English novel." It has been called one of the greatest novels written in English, but not an English novel.
    Why would anyone want to find such a person?

    This thread is not about whether the Great Gatsby is great literature, but about whether literature in English is English literature, which is a tautology.

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