(Last Updated on : 28/01/2013)
Novelists in Tamil Literature
comprises of several prominent and renowned Tamil
authors who have written many noteworthy novels and have contributed significantly to the development of the Tamil novels and stories during the 19th century. Several Tamil novelists and authors such as Vetanayakam Pillai, Nateca Sastri, Rajam Iyer, Matavaiya, K.S. Venkataramani, R. Kirusnamurtti have written many novels and stories in Tamil language that have developed the genre in Tamil literature through out the years. Vetanayakam Pillai composed his first novel in the year 1876. As he had contacts with English officers of the British East India Company
, Pillai realized the importance of novels in the society. A novel pictures the essential nitty gritties of the society portraying the idiosyncrasies and the assorted diseases within. An array of novels depicts that, distinguishes the novel from the romance is its realistic treatment of life and manners. It`s where heroes are men and women like us, and its chief interest, as Northrop Frye said, is "human character as it manifests itself in society." Thus the Tamil author became determined to compose novels in Tamil language. According to Vetanayakam Pillai, prose, instead of poetry, was a better genre for representing various ideas to the readers having a comparatively objective tone. He desired to propagate his vision and ideas through novels as he knew people naturally liked interesting stories. With this aim, Vetanayakam Pillai composed his initial novel titled Piratapa Mudaliar Carittiram in the year 1876.
He composed his second novel titled Cukunacuntari after almost a decade in the year 1887. The Tamil author created various kinds of characters and conveyed different emotions, including cultural and ethical values in his two literary works that contributed much to the development of Tamil literature. The first novel of Vetanayakam Pillai, Piratapa Mudaliar Carittiram, tells the elaborately story about the families of wealthy farmers, the problems they face and their social and cultural values. His second novel is about a king who abducts a young maiden and fights to win her love. Both of his compositions were renowned for their smart and humorous content.
Another wise author was Nateca Sastri (1859- 1906) who left his indelible marks in the works of Mattiya Kalak Kataikal and Tiravitapur Vakalak Kataikal, in which he had collected various stories that were prevalent among people during that period. Sastri had also translated many literary works from English and Sanskrit into Tamil language. One of his most notable works titled the Muttira Raksacam was translated from a Sanskrit work. Nateca Sastri had also translated some of the compositions of Shakespeare, namely Twelfth Night and Measure for Measure into Tamil. But he also composed many original novels as well such as Matiketta Manaivi, Tikkarra Iru Kulantaikal, Komalam Kumariyanatu and Mami Koluvirukkai.
Rajam Iyer was the foremost realistic novelist in the history of Tamil literature. His most significant work was Kamalampal Carittiram which includes all the ugly and painful realities of life and does not idolize anything ort anyone. His novels depict a shabby drab reality, a far cry from the romantic humdrums of the ideal life. His characters are life like not larger than life that depicts that behind that placid veneer of the romantic illusions that life promises there is a world, a veil of darkness promising hopelessness and pessimism. Another well known Tamil novel Patmavatiyin Carittiram, which was hailed as one of the most realistic Tamil novels was composed by the author Matavaiya (1872-1925). The novel Kamalampal Carittiram was serialized in a magazine called Viveka Cintamani
between the years 1893 and 1895. The Patmavatiyin Carittiram was written in the year 1898 by Matavaiya. It defines its characters properly and the novel reveals the zeal of the author for social development. Several events are connected together in the work of Patmavatiyin Carittiram and the story is comprised of a chain of events as one event leads to another.
Matavaiya composed many other Tamil novels other than Patmavatiyin Carittiram, such as Muttu Minatci and Vijaya Marttantan. These works portrays, from various angles, the social life of Maravars and Chettiyars, including lawyers and judges also. Muttu Minatci is considered as a revolutionary novel as it depicts the tale about the despair of a young widow through a biographical narration. Matavaiya also wrote stories for children in a simple style like Taksna Carittira Virar, Pala Vinotak Kataikal and Pala Ramayanam. His short stories were published in 3 volumes popularly known as Kucikar Kuttik Kataikal. These provided a momentum to the development of short stories in Tamil literature. Other than these, many other Tamil authors like Ranka Raju, Kotainayaki Ammaiyar, Ponnucamip Pillai, Vatuvur Turaicami Iyengar and Arani Kuppucami Mudaliar, composed a number of mystery and detective novels, as well as moderately thrilling stories fro the readers. These types of works were mainly inspired from thrillers and detective novels in western literature.
The Tamil author K.S. Venkataramani initially wrote his novels in English, but later translated all his works into Tamil language. His 2 Tamil novels include Murukan or Ulavan and Kantan Oru Tecapaktan which were written in 1928 and 1938 respectively. The novels composed by Venkataramani kindled strong sense patriotism among the populace. R. Kirusnamurtti created a significant place for historical novels in Tamil literature. One of his most reputed works titled Civakamiyin Capatam narrates an exciting story that fascinates the minds of the readers. The work contains numerous chivalrous and interesting characters. The plot of Civakamiyin Capatam is not too much complicated. The plotline revolves around Civakami, who is the daughter of a sculptor and vividly describes her journey to develop as a talented dancer, which includes her struggles, her miseries and her righteous aims. It is considered as one of the novels that contains an excellent quality and standard.
There are several other stories and novels that were written by reputed novelists in Tamil literature which have contributed much to the development of the genre in the modern era.