Talk:R. K. Narayan/GA1

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GA Review[edit]

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Reviewer: Drmies (talk) 02:58, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

GAN criteria, and their fulfillment[edit]

  1. a. Well-written: yes. b. MoS: yes.
  2. Factually accurate and verifiable: yes.
  3. Broad: yes on both accounts.
  4. Neutral: yes.
  5. Stable: yes.
  6. Illustrated: two illustrations is a bit meager, and I would love to see a couple of portraits, but this passes for GA status. Drmies (talk) 19:46, 1 November 2009 (UTC)


Spiff, I'm going to make some random comments, to get my feet wet. I will give you something more comprehensive later, but I thought I'd give you an idea of which nits I like to pick.

For example: second paragraph of "Life", rm comma after "grandmother." (There are other erroneous/missing commas throughout the article.) In the same paragraph, edit third sentence: "...Laxman, the family conversed primarily in English..." "During their childhood" isn't really necessary; replace modal "would" with a regular preterite. Consider adding a comma after "avid reader." Consider replacing "12" with "twelve." Consider replacing "their family" (last sentence of same paragraph) with "the family."

Third paragraph, first sentence, reorder: "Narayan and his family moved to Mysore when his father..." Third sentence: "When he had completed", change maybe to "After completing..." Also third, comma after "Mysore." Fourth, comma after "however." Sixth, drop "albeit unpaid"--reviews are usually unpaid. (Or I'd be rich.) Next to last sentence, rm "that was" to make "an effort ridiculed by his uncle and rejected by a string of publishers" (parallelism). Last sentence, "ignoring" should read "ignored." In that same sentence, "the country" is a bit vague. And do you mean that the town is set in an India that wasn't ruled by the British? Drmies (talk) 03:36, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

I've made all the changes above, and cleaned up the bio section per the recommendations. I'll take a closer look at the literary review section next. cheers. -SpacemanSpiff 06:12, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Under "Turning point," there is mention of non-Brahmins (wikilink the term). What caste was Narayan, and his wife? (if this is relevant at all.) In the same section, final paragraph, sharpen up "these books"--is there a general term in Narayan scholarship for these three early novels? Or consider saying "In these three early novels,..." Precision is appreciated here. How about "These three early novels highlight problematic but socially accepted practices." or some such thing? Drmies (talk) 15:00, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Brahmins are a caste (Narayan and his wife were Brahmins - Iyers to be precise). However, it isn't possible to wikilink non-Brahmins, it's just a term used for all castes that aren't Brahmins. Some critics/academics loosely group the books (1, 2 and 4 - 3 is excluded) as a trilogy, but it isn't a very well defined or used term. I'll get it to be more precise. -SpacemanSpiff 16:13, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
I've added some context to this by linking Iyer. As for the bit about non-Brahmins/Brahmins, that's the subject of many scholarly works, but no wiki article yet, and unlikely for one to develop anytime soon. I've restructured the last paragraph to read a bit better. I still haven't found a term to link the three books, so I've used "first three books" instead. -SpacemanSpiff 18:56, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

In "The busy years," "although the protagonist in the novel continues to follow Narayan's main outline from his earlier creations" is not clear to me--"outline" is, I think, the problem here. Perhaps "trajectory" is a better word, but either way it needs a modifier of sorts. Are you talking about similar character development? similar character? similar fate? Sharpen that up (and I think there were one or two other places with similar phrases) and you will greatly improve the article. Drmies (talk) 15:14, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Understood, I used the word to describe character development, not character itself. I believe I used similar descriptors for The Bachelor of Arts and Waiting for the Mahatma, I'll clean those out. -SpacemanSpiff 16:13, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
I cleaned up the above two bits. I'll look for the other areas next. -SpacemanSpiff 18:56, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

In "The later years," opening paragraph--does this book have a name? And note the sequence of "Around the same time..." and then "The same year...": it goes from somewhat precise to really precise, but what year? 1980, right? Reverse the two statements, that might be better rhetorically also: recognition worldwide, then recognition even in Chinese. Next paragraph: consider tweaking "came out" (also further on in the paragraph, and a few paragraphs later)--a tad colloquial, and now also a double entendre. Remove the semi-colon before "all of them written..." Fourth paragraph, hyphen between "six" and "year" (compound noun used as adjective). Sixth paragraph, add comma after "fond of conversation," and one after "notebooks," and one after "2001." Drmies (talk) 15:16, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

I thought I replaced the "came out" with "published", but maybe I missed another. I'll clean up this section, after my morning cuppa, it doesn't read as well as it did before bedtime. -SpacemanSpiff 16:13, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
That's how these things go. Coffee works wonders--almost as many as time, or an extra pair of eyes. Drmies (talk) 16:48, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
Oops, don't know how I missed that, The Emerald Route added/linked. Punctuation issues addressed too. -SpacemanSpiff 04:27, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

"Literary review": consider adding more "According to..." kinds of phrases to the "writing style" section. For instance, "this objective style, rooted in a detached spirit, provides for a more authentic and realistic narration" is now stated as a matter of fact, but it is a matter of literary evaluation. Don't settle for the standard "some critics say that", but get specific: mention the name of the critic and wherever possible, give an indication of their status and authority, or where and when they said this. See examples at Geoffrey_Chaucer#Early_criticism, Geoffrey_Chaucer#Modern_scholarship. Conversation_poems#Critical_response is somewhat pedestrian (note the tedious alternation of "declares," "states," argues," etc.), giving only the names of the critics, but for GA status that should suffice, I believe. Moby-Dick#Critical_reception has decent elements. (I've been looking for a perfect example, but haven't found one yet.)

I think Faulkner and Greene might be over-wikilinked. "Critical reception": "One of his biographers, William Walsh..." needs a citation.

Part of the problem here is that lots of sources report "Critics saying this or that", I've added some attribution, I'll try to add some detailed attribution over the next 24h. -SpacemanSpiff 04:27, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Finally, "Selected Works" needs to be moved down the page; it breaks up the flow of the article. I am not sure if the works ought to be numbered: I have not seen it anywhere else. The columns are nice, but do try and wikilink the first occurence of every (notable) publisher. Tweak the third sentence of "Legacy"--it does not seem to be in a very felicitous order. "Some say the greatest" should probably go, unverified as it is--unless you have a real notable person saying this, in which case we need to know who. Introduce the Malgudi section with a topic sentence--and whose quote is that? Do all that and I think you're on easy street. Drmies (talk) 18:58, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

I've moved it to just above the refs (I placed it where it was based on some other feedback, so now the adaptations section looks a bit out of place--maybe kill the section and add the content to the bio sections?) Publishers linked, although most are now acquired etc, one problematic one is Thomas Nelson - the British firm no longer exists and the link goes to the American firm where some of the history is covered. As for the numbering, this is an exhaustive list of originals (excludes all repackages/republishes), so I thought numbering would be nice. I can remove it if it looks ugly. Topic sentence added.
  • But the heading says "Selected". If it is exhaustive, that's another feather in your cap--but then the heading isn't right. Which reminds me, I don't mind most of the somewhat impressionist headings, but "The ordeal" is a bit too literary (read: Kafkaesque) for me, and not entirely clear (I guess it relates to the death of his wife, but most of that section doesn't suggest his life and work were dominated by her death). Drmies (talk) 05:33, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
"Some say the greatest": a problematic, but IMO, a necessary inclusion. There are tons of sources (including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Telegraph, The Hindu that say he is widely acclaimed to be the greatest; The Guardian and The Independent actually call him the greatest). Perhaps there's another way to address this? I added the quote attribution, it got lost when the cquote template was changed to quote template.
  • I don't really think it's that problematic, but ChildofMidnight has a point: do modern critics still feel the same way? His objection, though unverified, is valid, and while in "GA mode" it's not that big a deal, it will be in the next step, where you will have to prove that the scholarship (and thus the evaluations of your subject's status) is current. For now, if you want to keep, say something like "According to Dr. X of the NYT and Dr. Y of The G, he is in fact the greatest...", followed of course by the references. But those Drs. better be highly notable and authoritative; the mere fact that the NYT or the G publish such a statement doesn't make it true. Drmies (talk) 05:33, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
  • I think I've fixed most attribution issues (the ref for William Walsh is the same as that for the next sentence on Anita Desai), list of works. I've also removed the "some say greatest" and left it as "one of the greatest of the twentieth century" as that is at least the lowest common denominator in all reviews. Let me know if anything else appears to be missing and any other changes you'd like. cheers. -SpacemanSpiff 04:14, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Oct 27
  • I think you're well on your way now. A small thing is this: in the Harvard-style citations, I am positively puzzled by the lack of final punctuation. This is how they have the examples in all the templates--I don't understand it, it goes against all my MLA instincts. At least for aesthetic purposes, I'd include a period, so the note (see note 6, for instance) has one at the end.
    • Done. I was puzzled initially, but thought it was an MOS thing to differentiate notes.
  • Another thing, and this is tedious (just as tedious as it was for me, when I was told in an FL review): you should list the name of a paper, for instance, under "newspaper" when you use the cite news template, not under "publisher." It's not so nice to do that now, for this article, but in the long run it will save you time: it italicizes automatically.
    • Done. Changed all newspaper refs to this format.
  • A bigger thing is this, and I am glad I am aware of it now: according to WP:LEAD, with an article of this length (62k), you need a lead that is 3-4 paragraphs. I would suggest adding one in the middle, which mentions some of his works (the more notable ones, a possible series of books, etc) and gives some detail on some of them--this might then lead to the Malgudi reference in the third paragraph.
    • Ah, I wasn't aware of this. I'll expand.
  • In earlier comments on the talk page, there was some commentary on his status in India vs. that in the rest of the world. That may be something to mention in the lead, somewhere. In "Critical Reception" you mention Indian and non-Indian criticism; it would be nice to have a kind of weighing of those issues, for comparative purposes, if you have a source that explains this.
    • I've struggled hard to find this information, but I can't do anything on this without synthesis. I split the section to talk about Indian vs non-Indian based on the TP comment, but I don't have a single source that actually compares the two.
  • Finally, after another close look at that very section, I see some POV issues. I was looking at it and tweaked one of two small things, but then held back: some of the wording needs rephrasing. For instance, you speak of "lesser writers"--that is not NPOV enough. Third paragraph: the "Tharoor" sentence needs an "according to him" or something like that halfway through, after mention of Austen; right now it sounds too much like fact. The final sentence of that paragraph likewise needs rewriting. Besides, who is Shashi Deshpande? Why is her final word so authoritative?
    • Cleaned up this section to eliminate the POV, the "lesser" was actually lifted from the reference but (subconsciously) influenced by my opinion of Tharoor's book. I've used the term "later writers" -- I'd prefer something more descriptive, but can't think of any (younger doesn't provide the correct meaning, newer doesn't sound right for people), so if you have any recommendations, that would be appreciated. I've also added Deshpande to the passage as opposed to being part of the note. This would give credence to "later writers" as there's two of them now. One reason I'd asked many editors to review this section was due to my personal bias, which despite all good intentions doesn't go away!
  • The same criticism applies to the fourth paragraph: too many of those sentences sound like accepted fact when they are value judgments--by authoritative persons, possibly, but still. (Or is everything in that fourth paragraph said by Naipul? No.) Same with fourth sentence of fifth paragraph. You should really go through each of these sentences and tweak them. Fix that section and you should be near the finish line. Drmies (talk) 03:20, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
    • Fixed this section with attribution and adjustments in delivery.
    • I'll go through another round of ce, expand the lede and let you know. cheers. -SpacemanSpiff 20:11, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Doc, I think I've addressed all the above issues. Let me know if there are any other changes you'd like to see. cheers. -SpacemanSpiff 20:12, 29 October 2009 (UTC)