Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 11 : 5 May 2011
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.
         L. Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.





  • E-mail your articles and book-length reports in Microsoft Word to
  • Contributors from South Asia may e-mail their articles to
    B. Mallikarjun,
    Central Institute of Indian Languages,
    Mysore 570006, India
  • Your articles and book-length reports should be written following the APA, MLA, LSA, or IJDL Stylesheet.
  • The Editorial Board has the right to accept, reject, or suggest modifications to the articles submitted for publication, and to make suitable stylistic adjustments. High quality, academic integrity, ethics and morals are expected from the authors and discussants.

Copyright © 2010
M. S. Thirumalai

Custom Search

Authorial Intrusion in Salman Rushdie's Shame Evelynn Sheen Divakar, M.Phil., PGDELT.

Evelynn Sheen Divakar, M.Phil., PGDELT

Rushdie Novel Shame cover page

Authorial Intrusion

Vickie Britton describes authorial intrusion as "… literary device where the author inserts his own thoughts and opinions into the story". Authorial intrusion was a common device in Victorian literature. Writers like Jane Austen, John Fowles, William Makepeace Thackeray, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens and others were found to often stop in between their narratives and address the reader directly.

This literary device provided the writer a propitious opportunity digress from the main narrative and furnish the reader with the writer's opinions. More often in Victorian literature the writer used this brass ring to influence the reader's own opinion. Gothic literature utilized this device for foreshadowing and to build an aura of suspense in the plot.

Showing and Telling - Implications of Authorial Intrusion

This trend in writing can be directly linked to "showing and telling". The mantra for contemporary writing is to show and not tell. A work that is replete with authorial intrusion would naturally end up "telling". However, authorial intrusion does not imply that the writer exerts overriding authority on the perspective of the reader. The intrusion of the writer may also be a consequence of the desire of the writer to present an objective and multi-dimensional view of the event or character. It may also be a recourse, to present the story, when the narrator is unreliable and instable.

Salman Rushdie and Authorial Intrusion

Though authorial intrusion in generally frowned upon in contemporary literature since it is believed that the reader's understanding and interpretation of the work is limited when the writer breaks in and provides opinions, it can be an effective tool in the hands of a skilled writer. Salman Rushdie is one such writer who often uses authorial intrusion to create a myriad of effects. Rushdie is writer who cannot be boxed easily. He is writer who has achieved international recognition as a postmodern writer. One of the significant features of his style is his tendency towards 'reflexivity'. Reflexivity is the inclination of the writer to raise issues regarding the "…their own nature, status, and role" (Barry).

Replete with Authorial Intrusions

Rushdie's novel Shame is replete with instances where the writer speaks directly to the reader. However the authorial intrusion in Shame is different from what we find in the Victorian novels and the Gothic novels. Rushdie does not use authorial intrusion to build an atmosphere of suspense neither to foreshadow nor does he use it to impose his ideology on the reader. Authorial intrusion in the hands of Rushdie is used for several purposes.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Evelynn Sheen Divakar, M.Phil., PGDELT.
Head of the Department of English
MIT Gurukul
Loni Khalbor
Pune - 412 201
Maharashtra, India

Custom Search

  • Click Here to Go to Creative Writing Section

  • Send your articles
    as an attachment
    to your e-mail to
  • Please ensure that your name, academic degrees, institutional affiliation and institutional address, and your e-mail address are all given in the first page of your article. Also include a declaration that your article or work submitted for publication in LANGUAGE IN INDIA is an original work by you and that you have duly acknowledged the work or works of others you either cited or used in writing your articles, etc. Remember that by maintaining academic integrity we not only do the right thing but also help the growth, development and recognition of Indian scholarship.