K. P. Appan

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Karthikayil Padmanabhan Appan (25 August 1936 – 14 December 2008), better known as K. P. Appan, was a renowned literary critic in Malayalam. Born in Alappuzha (Alleppey), Kerala, Appan worked as a Professor of Malayalam literature at SN College, Kollam, Kerala.


Karthikayil Padmanabhan Appan was born to Poonthoppil Padmanabhan and Karthiyani in Alappuzha on 25 August 1936. He had his schooling at Sanadana Dharma Vidyalaya there and graduation at SD College, Alappuzha. He took his post-graduation from Maharaja's College, Ernakulam. Appan began his career as a high school teacher and then joined UC College, Aluva, as a lecturer in Malayalam. Later he joined SN College, Cherthala, and then got transferred to SN College, Kollam, in 1972. He retired from there in 1992.

K. P. Appan died at a private hospital in Kayamkulam on 14 December 2008. He had been battling with cancer for almost three years.


Appan started his writing while Malayalam literature was slowly transiting from neo-classic socialist realism to modernism. New writings of O. V. Vijayan, M. Mukundan, Kakkanadan etc., which focus on the alienation of the individual and related anguish was unsettling to conventional critics like Joseph Mundassery, Kuttikrishna Marar etc. Their ageing literary sensibilities failed to take note of and evaluate the writings of younger generation leading to some sort of stagnation in literary criticism. Appan's entry into the Malayalam literary world at this juncture was like fresh air to a closed room. Appan pointed out that the new generation writers are impatient with existing reality as they considered writing to be an attempt to create new realities. Appan justified the liberal use of myths and metaphors by the new writers. His first book Kshobhikkunnavarude Suvisesham (Gospel of the Angry) opened a new vista in Malayalam literary criticism. Soon he became the messiah of new writing in Malayalam. Liberal values and existentialist philosophy as expounded by Immanuel Kant, Søren Kierkegaard, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus etc. found its expression in Malayalam through the genius of K. P. Appan.

Appan had written over 20 books and most of them had turned out to be subjects of interesting debate. He was one who proved to the literary world that literary criticism was by itself a form of delightful literature. He is widely seen as the one who launched the trend of new criticism in Malayalam literature. He introduced modern European and Eastern literary visions in Malayalam literary criticism. Some of his works were Kshobhikkunnavarude Suvisesham (1972), Thiraskaram (1978), Kalahavum Viswasavum (1984), Marunna Malayala Novel (1988), Kalapam, Vivadam, Vilayiruthal (1992) Malayala Bhavana Mullyangalum Sangharshangalum (1992), Bible Velichathinte Kavacham (1994), Penayude Samaramukhangal (1995), Samayapravahavum Sahithyakalayum (1996), Abhimukha Sambashanangal (1997), UtharadhunikathaVarthamanavum Vamsavaliyum (1997).

Awards and honors

In 2008, K. P. Appan won the Kendra Sahithya Academy Award for his collection of essays in Malayalam, Madhuram Ninte Jeevitham. The award was announced after his death.[1]

Books by K. P. Appan

  1. Kshobhikkunnavarude Suvisesham
  2. Kalahavum Viswasavum
  3. Malayala Bhavana: Mullyangalum Sangharshangalum
  4. Varakalum Varnangalum
  5. Bible: Velichathinte Kavacham
  6. Kalapam, Vivadam, Vilayiruthal
  7. Samayapravahavum Sahithyakalayum
  8. Katha: Akhyanavum Anubhava Sathayum
  9. Utharadhunikatha: Varthamanavum Vamsavaliyum
  10. Innalekalile Anveshanaparishodanakal
  11. Vivekashaliyaya Vayanakkara
  12. Rogavum Sahithyabhavanayum
  13. Charithrathe Aghadahamakkiya Guru
  14. Swargam theernnu pokunnu narakam nilanilkunnu
  15. Thiraskaram
  16. Marunna Malayalam Novel
  17. Penayude Samaramukhangal
  18. Maduram Ninte jeevitham
  19. Abhimuka Sambhashanakal
  20. Charithrathe Ningalkoppam Kootuka


  1. "Sahitya Akademi awards for 7 novelists". The Hindu. 24 December. Retrieved 2008-12-24. Check date values in: |date= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>