Various Categories of Nostalgia in the Work The Debut by Anita Brookner

  • A Shanmugaraja Lecturer in English, Central Institute of Petrochemicals Engineering and Technology, Thiruvathavur, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Keywords: Nostalgia, Complex Emotion, Homesickness, Exile, Rootlessness, Displacement


The emotion of nostalgia is universal as far as the opinions of researchers and theorists are concerned. There is not a single individual in the world who is devoid of the feeling of nostalgia. It is a psychological phenomenon, and every individual in the world has been influenced by the feeling. It has distinct definitions based on worldwide experiments. The literature published in psychology, pathology, social science, humanities, science, etc. in the world puts on record different definitions of this complex emotion. Though earlier it was considered a disease, today it is simply a sentiment associated with the past. Throughout the novel The Debut the protagonist, Dr. Ruth Weiss, looks back on her life at the age of forty. Brookner’s use of the flashback technique
is important from a nostalgic point of view. Her early days’ memories connected to her parents, her grandmother, her school, and teachers remain bitter-sweet. Her childhood memories of family responsibilities, disillusionment with love, feelings of insecurity in the outside world, the loss of loved ones, and so on are all associated with nostalgia. Ruth is mostly nostalgic about her grandmother, and the death of her grandmother seems to be the end of the source of the unselfish love and comfort. Her speechless condition at the death of her grandmother speaks volumes about her psychological state. Though her mother seems harsh, her father is soft on her. The novel explores the daughter-father relationship, friendship, and love. She fails to win the love of Richard and Duplesis, but manages to marry Roddy. But she remains lonely, serving her aged father after
the death of Roddy. The other characters, Helen, George, Sally, Molly, Roddy, Mr. Dunlop, etc., are also projected as nostalgic figures on different occasions.

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How to Cite
Shanmugaraja, A. (2023). Various Categories of Nostalgia in the Work The Debut by Anita Brookner. Shanlax International Journal of English, 11(2), 12-22.