Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala


Towards Modernism

Malayalam novels written in the first ten years after India became independent lacked the radicalism of the earlier novels. It reflected the despondency and inward-looking attitude of the authors. Sadness became a recurrent theme in the writings of those days and writers seemed to see things in an entirely new perspective. The first novel that espoused this new style of writing was M.T. Vasudevan Nair’s Nalukettu, published in 1958. The other novels that he wrote during his long literary career became equally popular.

M T.’s other works are Asuravithu (The Demon Seed), Kaalam (Time), Manju (Mist), Randamoozham (Second Turn), and Varanasi. Many other novelists started writing around the same time, in the early 1960s. They are O. V. Vijayan, Kakkanadan, Anand, Mukundan, V. K.N., Sethu, Punathil Kunhabdullah, P. Padmarajan, N.P. Muhammad, Rajalakshmi, Vilasini (real name M. K. Menon), C. Radhakrishnan, P.K. Balakrishnan, Lalithambika Antharjanam, E. Vasu, Malayattoor Ramakrishnan, V.T. Nandakumar, Perumbadavam Sreedharan, Puthoor Unnikrishnan, P. Valsala, George Onakkoor, U.A. Khader, V.A. Azeez, Sarah Thomas, P. R. Syamala, T. V. Varkey, and P.R. Nathan.

The search for values in a degenerating society, identity crises, existential dilemmas of the individual, and negativism were the hallmarks of modernism in literature. The most outstanding Malayalam novel in which the stamp of modernism can be clearly seen is O.V. Vijayan’s Khasakkinte Ithihasam.

Novels of O.V. Vijayan:
Khasakkinte Ithihasam (The Legend of Khasak)
Dharmapuranam (The Saga of Dharmapuri)
Gurusagaram (The Infinity of Grace)
Madhuram Gayathi
Pravachakante Vazhi (The Path of the Prophet)
Thalamurakal (Generations).

Novels of Kakkanadan:
Akjnathayute Thazhvara (The Valley of Ignorance)
Parngimala
Ezham Mudra (The Seventh Seal)
Ushnamekhala (The Tropics)
Sakshi (The Witness)
Aarudeyo Oru Nagaram (Someone’s City)
Orotha

Novels of M. Mukundan:
Delhi
Mayyazhipuzhayude Theerangalil (On the Banks of the Mayyazhi)
Seetha
Aavilayile Sooryodayam (The Sunrise in Avila)
Haridwaril Manikal Muzhangunnu
Ee Lokam Athiloru Manushyan
Daivathinte Vikrithikal (God’s Mischief)
Nritham (Dance)
Kesavante Vilapangal (Kesavan’s Lamentations)
Pulayappattu (The Song of the Pulayas)

Novels of V.K.N:
Aarohanam (Ascent)
Pithamahan (Great Grandfather)
General Chathans
Nanwaru
Kaavi (Saffron)
Kutineeru (Drinking Water)
Adhikaram (Power)
Anantharam (Thereafter)

Novels of Anand:
Aalkkoottam, (Crowd)
Marana Certificate (Death Certificate)
Abhayarthikal (Refugees)
Marubhoomikal Undakunnathu (How Deserts Come Into Existence)
Govardhante Yaathrakal (The Journeys of Govardhanan)
Vyaasanum Vighneswaranum
Apaharikkapetta Daivangal (Stolen Gods)
Vibhajanangal (Partitions)

Novels of Sethu:
Pandavapuram, Niyogam (Entrustment)
Vilayattam (Prevalence)
Kaimudrakal (Hand Gestures)
Nananja Mannu (Wet Mud)
Thaliyola (Palm Leaf)

Novels of Punathil Kunhabdullah:
Aligadile Thadavukaran (The Prisoner in Aligarh)
Thettukal (Mistakes)
Sooryan (The Sun)
Smaraka Silakal (Memorial Stones)
Khaleefa
Marunnu (Medicine)
Kanyavanangal (Virgin Forests)
Paralokam (The Other World)


Cultural News

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    An evening of contemporary dance presentation by the Tribhangi Dance Theatre from South Africa, showcasing a blend of original South African choreography and Indian dance styles at Tagore Theatre on 2017 May 29 at 6.30 pm.