Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Raja Rao (row), with Mulk Raj Anand and R. K. Narayan, is considered one of the most important twentieth century Indo-English novelists. The eldest in a Brahman family of nine children, he was born in Hassan, Mysore State, South India, on November 8, 1908 (although official records list his date of birth as November 21, 1909). Young Rao stayed with his grandfather, a Vedantist, while his father taught at Nizam’s College in the neighboring state of Hyderabad. From his grandfather, Rao absorbed a spiritual foundation in Indian philosophy that is apparent in all of his work. In 1915 Rao joined his father in Hyderabad to attend school and then went to Aligarh Muslim University in North India in 1926. There, under the guidance of Eric Dickinson, a poet and visiting professor from Oxford University, Rao’s literary sensibilities blossomed. In 1927 Rao enrolled in St. Nizam’s College in Hyderabad, majoring in English and history, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1929.
In that same year, Rao’s life changed dramatically. He won the Asiatic Scholarship of the Government of Hyderabad for study abroad and left India to study at the University of Montpellier in France. There, he met and married Camille Mouly, a French professor. She not only encouraged his writing but also supported him financially for several years.
Between 1931 and 1933, Rao published three essays and a poem written in Kannada (his mother tongue) in Jaya...
(The entire section is 1040 words.)
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Biography (Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Fourth Edition)
Raja Rao was born into a respected Brahman family in Hassan, South India, the eldest son in a family of two brothers and seven sisters. His father taught Kannada at Nizam’s College in the neighboring state of Hyderabad. The earliest influence on young Rao was his grandfather, with whom he stayed both in Hassan and in Harihalli while his father was in Hyderabad. Rao inherited a spiritual orientation from his grandfather; his preoccupation stayed with Rao throughout his life and is evident in all his work.
Rao joined his father in Hyderabad when it was time for him to attend high school. After high school, he was sent to Aligarh Muslim University in North India. These Aligarh days proved to be crucial in shaping Rao’s intellectual growth. Under the influence of Eric Dickinson, a minor poet and a visiting professor from Oxford, Rao’s literary sensibility was awakened. He met other interesting students at Aligarh, such as Ahmed Ali, who became a famous novelist, and Chetan Anand, who became an influential film producer. Rao also began learning French at Aligarh, which contributed to his decision to go to France a few years later. After matriculating in 1927, he returned to Hyderabad to enroll as a student for the B.A. at Nizam’s College. Two years later, he graduated, having majored in English and history.
In 1929, two other important events occurred in Rao’s life. First, he won the Asiatic Scholarship of the Government of Hyderabad for...
(The entire section is 953 words.)