Narayan, R.K. (1906-2001)
The R.K. Narayan Collection (1906-2001) contains manuscripts for many of Narayan’s works, particularly short pieces of fiction and non-fiction. The collection also contains various manuscripts drafts of some of Narayan’s later novels, plays, his autobiography, and translations.

Published novels include Vendor of Sweets (Viking, 1967), The Painter of Signs (Viking, 1976), and A Tiger For Malgudi (Viking, 1983). We have one leaf of paper which is the only remnant of the manuscript for Mr. Sampath (Ayre and Spottiswoode, 1949).

Stage play manuscripts include The Home of Thunder ; On Everest, which is accompanied by a letter from David Higham, Assoc. (agents; 1969); and Watchman of the Lake .

There are also several drafts of the play The Guide, adapted from Narayan’s novel. These drafts were written by Harvey Breit and Patricia Rinehart and by Pearl S. Buck and Tad Danieleski.

Other manuscripts includes multiple drafts of the autobiographical work My Days (Viking, 1972), and Narayan’s English translations of The Ramayana (Viking, 1972) and The Mahabarata (Viking, 1978). We also have two drafts in the collection of R. K. Narayan, A Storyteller’s World (Indian Thought, 1973), as well as one draft of The Emerald Route, a travel book published by the Government of Karnataka in 1977.

The collection contains a significant number of Narayan’s short pieces, both fiction and non-fiction written between 1945 and 1980. Narayan’s fiction appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, Playboy, The Aryan Path, Shankar’s Weekly, and The Illustrated Weekly of India . Many of these manuscripts are typed and contain holograph notes and corrections.
Titles include fictional piece “The Edge”, for which we have five drafts.

Other short fiction manuscripts are: “God and the Cobbler”, “Hungry Child”, “Naga”, “A Picture of Years”, and “Selvi”.

Furthermore, there are several radio talks and a speech made by Narayan at the 18th Anniversary Celebration of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi at Trichur on March 14, 1976.

Other short works of interest are drafts of radio speeches given by Narayan. They include Do It Yourself, the Laughing Philosopher, Touring Cinema, and three articles concerning the idea of “The Uncommon Man.”

There are several drafts of short pieces written for film and television.
Printed material in the collection consists of reviews & publicity material for Narayan’s books, including some on earlier works An Astrologer’s Day, Grateful to Life and Death and The Guide . We also have a scrapbook which contains printed articles written by Narayan between 1935 and 1961, as well astearsheets of the serialization of My Days that appeared in The Illustrated Weekly of India, June-August 1974. Also, we have eighty-eight articles, most published in The Hindu newspaper between 1948 and 1958.

We have tearsheets for many short fiction pieces and many more non-fiction articles which appeared in between 1945 and 1980 in The New Yorker, Playboy, The Hindu, The Illustrated Weekly of India, The Indian Listener, Punch, New Horizons, Life, and the New York Times Book Review .

The collection includes Narayan’s subject files. These folders are arranged alphabetically containing business-related correspondence pertaining to a variety of topics including Accountant, David Higham Associates (Agent), Financial, Payments Received, Publishers, Reprint Requests, Rights and Permissions, Taxes, Travel, Viking Press, and William Morris. The files span between the years 1930 and 1976.

Further correspondence in the collection is primarily professional in nature and is arranged chronologically from 1952 to 1979. Notable are letters from Pearl S. Buck, Max Reinhardt, a letter from Cyril Clemens which encloses a photocopy of a handwritten letter from Ernest Hemingway, and a letter from Narayan to Graham Greene.

Personal material in the collection includes account books from 1955 to 1972 and diaries covering 1971 to 1974.
Notable Figures
1. Narayan, R. K., 1906-2001
Associated Subjects
1. Literary Collections Subject Guide
2. Radio Subject Guide
3. Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi Collections Subject Guide