V.S. Naipaul Interview on Charlie Rose
V.S. Naipaul Interview on Charlie Rose
Published: 2017/01/11
Channel: KXM
V.S. Naipaul Interview - Meridian BBC World Service
V.S. Naipaul Interview - Meridian BBC World Service
Published: 2016/09/19
Channel: KXM
Nobel Banquet speech, V.S. Naipaul 2001
Nobel Banquet speech, V.S. Naipaul 2001
Published: 2008/12/08
Channel: Nobel Prize
Khushwant Singh, Indian novelist on V. S. Naipaul being awarded the Nobel prize
Khushwant Singh, Indian novelist on V. S. Naipaul being awarded the Nobel prize
Published: 2017/10/11
Channel: WildFilmsIndia
Published: 2016/11/27
Channel: DLF
V.S. Naipaul - The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief
V.S. Naipaul - The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief
Published: 2012/09/05
Channel: WGBHForum
Girish Karnad
Girish Karnad's attack on 'anti-Muslim' VS Naipaul
Published: 2012/11/06
Channel: NDTV
Diana Athill - How I criticised VS Naipaul (51/77)
Diana Athill - How I criticised VS Naipaul (51/77)
Published: 2017/10/16
Channel: Web of Stories - Life Stories of Remarkable People
Paul Theroux interview (1998)
Paul Theroux interview (1998)
Published: 2016/07/30
Channel: Manufacturing Intellect
Living Writers - V. S. Naipaul
Living Writers - V. S. Naipaul
Published: 2010/11/15
Channel: Colgate University
V.S. Naipaul: Books, Quotes, Biography, Family History, Literary Achivements (1998)
V.S. Naipaul: Books, Quotes, Biography, Family History, Literary Achivements (1998)
Published: 2015/09/06
Channel: Way Back
VS. Naipaul Interview - Meridian BBC World Service
VS. Naipaul Interview - Meridian BBC World Service
Published: 2017/08/27
Channel: BBC NEWS Unofficial
Satire and the Postcolonial Novel V S  Naipaul, Chinua Achebe, Salman Rushdie Literary Criticism and
Satire and the Postcolonial Novel V S Naipaul, Chinua Achebe, Salman Rushdie Literary Criticism and
Published: 2017/06/17
Channel: B Cook
Sir VS Naipaul at THiNK 2011
Sir VS Naipaul at THiNK 2011
Published: 2011/11/18
Channel: tehelkatv
India Today Conclave: Session With VC Naipaul
India Today Conclave: Session With VC Naipaul
Published: 2017/03/03
Channel: India Today Conclave
VS Naipaul books and novels at a book-store
VS Naipaul books and novels at a book-store
Published: 2017/10/11
Channel: WildFilmsIndia
Famous V  S  Naipaul Quotes 400
Famous V S Naipaul Quotes 400
Published: 2014/04/22
Channel: Raja Sharma
V S Naipaul biography वी  एस  नायपाल जीवनी
V S Naipaul biography वी एस नायपाल जीवनी
Published: 2017/08/31
V.S. Naipaul- Miguel Street.
V.S. Naipaul- Miguel Street.
Published: 2012/06/08
Channel: gimicocky
VS Naipaul ~ another perspective
VS Naipaul ~ another perspective
Published: 2018/01/08
Channel: Colleen Wasner
A Bend in the River Audiobook by V.S. Naipaul
A Bend in the River Audiobook by V.S. Naipaul
Published: 2017/12/06
Channel: Josue Forbes
V.S. Naipaul - Guerrillas - Book Review
V.S. Naipaul - Guerrillas - Book Review
Published: 2016/07/08
Channel: PaperBird
7 Inspiring Quotes of V. S. Naipaul
7 Inspiring Quotes of V. S. Naipaul
Published: 2016/04/09
Liberatum Istanbul
Liberatum Istanbul 'Istancool' - Sir VS Naipaul and Franca Sozzani
Published: 2013/01/31
Channel: Liberatum
Girish Karnad takes on nobel laureate VS Naipaul
Girish Karnad takes on nobel laureate VS Naipaul
Published: 2012/11/06
Channel: TIMES NOW
Das Literarische Quartett 27 |21.10.1993| V.S.Naipaul,M.Ondaatje,Wolfgang Hilbig,N.Gstrein,V.Nabokov
Das Literarische Quartett 27 |21.10.1993| V.S.Naipaul,M.Ondaatje,Wolfgang Hilbig,N.Gstrein,V.Nabokov
Published: 2014/09/22
Channel: Mierendorffs Kanal für Reich-Ranicki
Sir VS Naipaul at Chulalongkorn University, with an introduction by Uwe Morawetz
Sir VS Naipaul at Chulalongkorn University, with an introduction by Uwe Morawetz
Published: 2014/01/17
Channel: International Peace Foundation
V S Naipaul Interview Rudolf von Bitter
V S Naipaul Interview Rudolf von Bitter
Published: 2012/12/08
Channel: Rudolf Bitter
The Newshour Debate: Karnad challenges Naipaul - Part 1 of 2
The Newshour Debate: Karnad challenges Naipaul - Part 1 of 2
Published: 2012/11/06
Channel: TIMES NOW
V. S. Naipaul: The Masque of Africa | 92Y Readings
V. S. Naipaul: The Masque of Africa | 92Y Readings
Published: 2012/08/01
Channel: 92nd Street Y
Note 1 on In A Free State by V S  Naipaul
Note 1 on In A Free State by V S Naipaul
Published: 2016/11/26
Channel: Realini Ionescu
Collisioni 2013 - V.S. Naipaul
Collisioni 2013 - V.S. Naipaul
Published: 2013/07/11
Channel: Grandanetvideo
V.S. Naipaul - A Way in the World
V.S. Naipaul - A Way in the World
Published: 2014/06/19
Channel: KXM
Published: 2016/11/20
Channel: Salam Saklain
Published: 2016/11/20
Channel: Salam Saklain
Karnad vs Naipaul, another legendary feud in the making-1
Karnad vs Naipaul, another legendary feud in the making-1
Published: 2012/11/04
Channel: Headlines Today
V.S. Naipaul, Letters between a father and son, 18 settembre 2011.avi
V.S. Naipaul, Letters between a father and son, 18 settembre 2011.avi
Published: 2012/10/02
Channel: - Festa del libro con gli autori
VS Naipaul finds no woman writer his match in the ring!
VS Naipaul finds no woman writer his match in the ring!
Published: 2011/06/04
Channel: Austin Kleon
Salman Rushdie interview on The Late Late Show 1999
Salman Rushdie interview on The Late Late Show 1999
Published: 2017/03/10
Channel: CR's Video Vaults
House for Mr. Biswas |V. S Naipaul |notes, summary and critical analysis
House for Mr. Biswas |V. S Naipaul |notes, summary and critical analysis
Published: 2017/11/10
Channel: literature notes
#Liberty2014 - Introduction by Lord Saatchi & Sir V S Naipaul
#Liberty2014 - Introduction by Lord Saatchi & Sir V S Naipaul
Published: 2014/06/28
Channel: Centre for Policy Studies
Musing on VS Naipaul with Chickens
Musing on VS Naipaul with Chickens
Published: 2018/01/08
Channel: Colleen Wasner
VS Naipaul Talks To His Mother
VS Naipaul Talks To His Mother
Published: 2011/09/28
Channel: mewritefilms
Does V.S. Naipaul
Does V.S. Naipaul's Philandering Matter?
Published: 2009/05/04
Channel: Luke Ford
Does V.S. Naipaul
Does V.S. Naipaul's Philandering Matter? II
Published: 2009/05/04
Channel: Luke Ford
Sir VS Naipaul at the FCCT facilitated by the International Peace Foundation
Sir VS Naipaul at the FCCT facilitated by the International Peace Foundation
Published: 2013/12/23
Channel: International Peace Foundation
Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul Life & Works
Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul Life & Works
Published: 2016/05/13
Channel: Literature forever
VS Naipaul at Jaipur Literature Festival 2015
VS Naipaul at Jaipur Literature Festival 2015
Published: 2015/06/05
Channel: Himanshu Kumbhat
Published: 2016/11/20
Channel: Salam Saklain
CUNY Graduate Center Writers on Literature: Goldman Naipaul
CUNY Graduate Center Writers on Literature: Goldman Naipaul
Published: 2016/11/18
Channel: Douglas Parker
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V. S. Naipaul
VS Naipal 2016 Dhaka.jpg
VS Naipaul in Dhaka in 2016
Born Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul[nb 1]
(1932-08-17) 17 August 1932 (age 85)
Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago
Occupation Novelist, travel writer, essayist
Citizenship British[1]
Period 1957–2010
Genre Novel, essay
Notable works A House for Mr Biswas
In a Free State
A Bend in the River
The Enigma of Arrival
Notable awards Booker Prize
Nobel Prize in Literature

Patricia Ann Hale Naipaul (1955–96, her death)

Nadira Khannum Alvi Naipaul (1996–present)

Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, TC (/ˈnpɔːl/ or /nˈpɔːl/; born 17 August 1932), is a British writer of Indian descent and Nobel Laureate who was born in Trinidad.[1] He is known for his comic early novels set in Trinidad and Tobago, his bleaker later novels of the wider world, and his autobiographical chronicles of life and travels. He has published more than thirty books, both of fiction and nonfiction, over some fifty years.

Early life[edit]

"Where there had been swamp at the foot of the Northern Range, with mud huts with earthen walls that showed the damp halfway up ... there was now the landscape of Holland.... Sugarcane as a crop had ceased to be important. None of the Indian villages were like villages I had known. No narrow roads; no dark, overhanging trees; no huts; no earth yards with hibiscus hedges; no ceremonial lighting of lamps, no play of shadows on the wall; no cooking of food in half-walled verandas, no leaping firelight; no flowers along gutters or ditches where frogs croaked the night away. [2]"
 — From Enigma of Arrival (1987)

V. S. Naipaul, familiarly Vidia Naipaul, was born on 17 August 1932 in Chaguanas in Trinidad.[3] He was the second child of his mother Droapatie (née Capildeo) and father Seepersad Naipaul.[3] In the 1880s, his grandparents migrated from India to work as farm labourers.[4] In the Indian immigrant community in Trinidad, Naipaul's father became an English-language journalist, and in 1929 began contributing articles to the Trinidad Guardian.[5] In 1932, the year Naipaul was born, his father joined the staff as the Chaguanas correspondent.[6] In "A prologue to an autobiography" (1983), Naipaul describes how his father's reverence for writers and for the writing life spawned his own dreams and aspirations to become a writer.[7]

In 1939, when he was seven years old, Naipaul's family moved to Trinidad's capital, Port of Spain,[8][9] where Naipaul enrolled in the government-run Queen's Royal College, a well-regarded school that was modelled after a British public school.[10] Upon graduation, Naipaul won a Trinidad Government scholarship that allowed him to study at any institution of higher learning in the British Commonwealth; he chose Oxford.

Education in England[edit]

At Oxford, Naipaul's early attempts at writing, he felt, were contrived. Lonely and unsure of his ability and calling, he became depressed.[11] In April 1952, he took an impulsive trip to Spain, where he quickly spent all he had saved.[12] He called his impulsive trip "a nervous breakdown."[13] Thirty years later, he called it "something like a mental illness."[14]

In 1952, before visiting Spain, Naipaul met Patricia Ann Hale, his future wife, at a college play. With Hale's support, he began to recover and gradually to write. She became a partner in planning his career. Her family was hostile to the relationship; his was unenthusiastic. In June 1953, Naipaul and Hale graduated from Oxford.

In 1953, Naipaul's father died.[15] He worked at odd jobs and borrowed money from Pat and his family in Trinidad.

Life in London[edit]

"The freelancers' room was like a club: chat, movement, the separate anxieties of young or youngish men below the passing fellowship of the room. That was the atmosphere I was writing in. That was the atmosphere I gave to Bogart’s Port of Spain street. Partly for the sake of speed, and partly because my memory or imagination couldn’t rise to it, I had given his servant room hardly any furniture: the Langham room itself was barely furnished. And I benefited from the fellowship of the room that afternoon. Without that fellowship, without the response of the three men who read the story, I might not have wanted to go on with what I had begun."
 — From, "A Prologue to an Autobiography" (1983).[16]

Naipaul moved to London in 1954. In January 1955, he and Pat were married. In December 1954, Naipaul began appearing on the BBC's Caribbean Voices once a week. Sitting in the BBC freelancers' room in the old Langham Hotel, he wrote "Bogart", the first story of Miguel Street. The story was inspired by a neighbour he knew as a child in Port of Spain. Naipaul wrote Miguel Street in five weeks. The New York Times said about Miguel Street: "The sketches are written lightly, so that tragedy is understated and comedy is overstated, yet the ring of truth always prevails."[17]

Early Trinidad novels[edit]

Diana Athill, an editor at the publishing company André Deutsch, read Miguel Street and liked it, but publisher, André Deutsch thought a book of short stories by an unknown Caribbean writer unlikely to sell profitably in Britain.[18] He encouraged Naipaul to write a novel.[18] Naipaul quickly wrote The Mystic Masseur [18] and it was published in 1955.

In 1956, Naipaul returned to Trinidad for a two-month stay with his family. Travelling by ship there, he sent humorous sketches of the ship's West Indian passengers to Pat.[19] These sketches became the inspiration for The Suffrage of Elvira, a comic novella about a rural election in Trinidad.[20] In 1957, Naipaul became an editorial assistant at the Cement and Concrete Association (C&CA), his only full-time job.[21] The C&CA was to be the setting for Naipaul's later novel, Mr Stone and the Knight's Companion.[21] At this time the New Statesman's Kingsley Martin gave Naipaul a part-time job reviewing books, a job he did from 1957 to 1961.[22]

The Mystic Masseur was awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1958, and Miguel Street the Somerset Maugham Award in 1961, W. Somerset Maugham himself approving the first-ever selection of a non-European.[23]

Seepersad Naipaul, father of V. S. Naipaul, and the inspiration for the protagonist of the novel, Mr Biswas, with his Ford Prefect.

For his next novel, A House for Mr Biswas (1961), Naipaul took for inspiration childhood memories of his father (later he wrote that the novel "destroyed memory" in some respects).[24] In the novel, title character Mohun Biswas takes a succession of vocations (apprentice to a Hindu priest, signboard painter; a grocery store proprietor, and reporter for The Trinidad Sentinel).[25] What ambition and resourcefulness Mr Biswas has are inevitably undermined by his dependence on his powerful in-laws and the vagaries of the colonial society in which he lives.[25]

The book consumed Naipaul. In 1983, he wrote:

The book took three years to write. It felt like a career; and there was a short period, towards the end of the writing, when I do believe I knew all or much of the book by heart. The labour ended; the book began to recede. And I found that I was unwilling to re-enter the world I had created, unwilling to expose myself again to the emotions that lay below the comedy. I became nervous of the book. I haven't read it since I passed the proofs in May 1961.[26]

Novels and travel writing[edit]

"The emergency was over. And so was my year. The short winter was fading fast; it was no longer pleasant to sit out in the sun; the dust would not now be laid until the monsoon. ... India had not worked its magic on me. It remained the land of my childhood, an area of darkness; like the Himalayan passes, it was closing up again, as fast as I withdrew from it, into a land of myth; it seemed to exist in just the timelessness which I had imagined as a child, into which, for all that I walked on Indian earth, I knew I could not penetrate. In a year I had not learned acceptance. I had learned my separateness from India, and was content to be a colonial, without a past, without ancestors."
 — From, An Area of Darkness (1964).[27]

After completing A House for Mr Biswas, Naipaul and Pat spent the next five months in British Guiana, Suriname, Martinique and Jamaica,[28] [29] where Naipaul took notes for The Middle Passage: Impressions of Five Societies – British, French and Dutch in the West Indies and South America, his first travel book.[28][30] He wrote, "The history of the islands can never be told satisfactorily. Brutality is not the only difficulty. History is built around achievement and creation; and nothing was created in the West Indies."[31]

In 1962, Naipaul and Pat went to India, the land of Naipaul's ancestors, where Naipaul wrote An Area of Darkness.[32][33] For the first time in his life, he felt anonymous, even faceless. He was no longer identified, he felt, with a special ethnic group as he had been in Trinidad and England; it made him anxious.[34][35] He was upset by what he saw as the resigned or evasive Indian reaction to poverty and suffering.[36][37]

While in India, Naipaul wrote Mr Stone and the Knight's Companion. He accepted an invitation to write a monthly "Letter from London" for the Illustrated Weekly of India.[38]

"Coconut trees and beach and the white of breakers seemed to meet at a point in the distance. It was not possible to see where coconut turned to mangrove and swampland. Here and there, interrupting the straight line of the beach, were the trunks of trees washed up by the sea. I set myself to walk to one tree, then to the other. I was soon far away from the village and from people, and was alone on the beach, smooth and shining silver in the dying light. No coconut now, but mangrove, tall on the black cages of their roots. From the mangrove swamps channels ran to the ocean between sand banks that were daily made and broken off, as neatly as if cut by machines, shallow channels of clear water touched with the amber of dead leaves, cool to the feet, different from the warm sea."
 — From The Mimic Men (1967).[39]

Naipaul had spent an overwrought year in India.[40] Back in London, after An Area of Darkness was completed, he felt creatively drained.[40] He felt he had used up his Trinidad material.[41] Neither India nor the writing of Mr Stone and the Knight's Companion, his only attempt at a novel set in Britain with white British characters, had spurred new ideas for imaginative writing.[41] His finances too were low, and Pat went back to teaching to supplement them.[40] Naipaul's books had received much critical acclaim, but they were not yet money makers.[40] Socially, he was now breaking away from the Caribbean Voices circle, but no doors had opened to mainstream British society.[42]

That changed when Naipaul was introduced to Antonia Fraser, at the time the wife of conservative politician Hugh Fraser.[43] Fraser introduced Naipaul to her social circle of upper-class British politicians, writers, and performing artists.[43] In this circle was the wealthy second Baron Glenconner, father of novelist Emma Tennant and owner of estates in Trinidad, who arranged for an unsecured loan of £7,200 for Naipaul.[44] Naipaul and Pat bought a three-floor house on Stockwell Park Crescent.[45]

In late 1964, Naipaul was asked to write an original script for an American movie.[46] He spent the next few months in Trinidad writing the story, a novella named "A Flag on the Island", later published in the collection A Flag on the Island. The finished version was not to the director's liking and the movie was never made.[46] The story is set in 1964, in a Caribbean island that is not named.[47] The main character is an American named Frankie who affects the mannerisms of Frank Sinatra.[46] Frankie has links to the island from having served there during World War II.[48] He revisits reluctantly when his ship anchors during a hurricane.[48] Naipaul wilfully makes the pace of the book feverish, the narrative haphazard, the characters loud, the protagonist fickle or deceptive, and the dialogue confusing.[48][46] Balancing the present time is Frankie's less disordered, though comfortless, memory of 20 years before.[49] Then he had become a part of a community on the island.[49] He had tried to help his poor friends by giving away the ample US Army supplies he had.[49] Not everyone was happy about receiving help and not everyone benefited.[49] Frankie was left chastened about finding tidy solutions to the island's social problems.[49] This theme, indirectly developed in the story, is one to which Naipaul would return again.

Not long after finishing A Flag on the Island, Naipaul began work on the novel The Mimic Men, though for almost a year he did not make significant progress.[50] At the end of this period, he was offered a Writer-in-Residence fellowship at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.[51] There, in early 1966, he began to rewrite his material, and went on to complete the novel quickly.[52] The finished novel broke new ground for him.[52] Unlike his Caribbean work, it was not comic.[53] It did not unfold chronologically.[54] Its language was allusive and ironic, its overall structure whimsical.[55] It had strands of both fiction and non-fiction, a precursor of other Naipaul novels.[56] It was intermittently dense, even obscure,[54] but it also had beautiful passages, especially descriptive ones of the fictional tropical island of Isabella. The subject of sex appeared explicitly for the first time in Naipaul's work.[57] The plot, to the extent there is one, centres on a protagonist, Ralph Singh, an East Indian-West Indian politician from Isabella.[55] Singh is in exile in London and attempting to write his political memoirs.[55] Earlier, in the immediate aftermath of decolonization in a number of British colonies in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Singh had shared political power with a more powerful African-Caribbean politician. Soon, the memoirs take on a more personal aspect. There are flashbacks to the formative and defining periods of Singh's life. In many of these, during crucial moments, whether during his childhood, married life, or political career, he appears to abandon engagement and enterprise.[55] These, he rationalizes later, belong only to fully made European societies. When The Mimic Men was published, it received generally positive critical notice. In particular, Caribbean politicians, such as Michael Manley and Eric Williams weighed in, the latter writing: "V. S. Naipaul's description of West Indians as 'mimic men' is harsh but true ..."[58]

Back in London in October 1966, Naipaul received an invitation from the American publisher Little, Brown and Company to write a book on Port-of-Spain.[59] The book took two years to write, its scope widening with time. The Loss of El Dorado eventually became a narrative history of Trinidad based on primary sources. Pat spent many months in the archives of the British Library reading those sources.[59] In the end, the finished product was not to the liking of Little, Brown, who were expecting a guidebook.[59] Alfred A. Knopf agreed to publish it instead in the United States, as did André Deutsch later in Britain.[59]

The Loss of El Dorado is an attempt to ferret out an older, deeper history of Trinidad, one preceding its commonly taught history as a British-run plantation economy of slaves and indentured workers.[60] Central to Naipaul's history are two stories: the search for El Dorado, a Spanish obsession, in turn pursued by the British, and the British attempt to spark from their new colony of Trinidad, even as it was itself becoming mired in slavery, a revolution of lofty ideals in South America.[60] Sir Walter Raleigh and Francisco Miranda would become the human faces of these stories.[60] Although slavery is eventually abolished, the sought for social order slips away in the face of uncertainties created by changeable populations, languages, and governments and by the cruelties inflicted by the island's inhabitants on each other.[60]

Before Naipaul began writing The Loss of El Dorado, he had been unhappy with the political climate in Britain.[61] He had been especially unhappy with the increasing public animosity, in the mid-1960s, towards Asian immigrants from Britain's ex-colonies.[61] During the writing of the book, he and Pat sold their house in London, and led a transient life, successively renting or borrowing use of the homes of friends. After the book was completed, they travelled to Trinidad and Canada with a view to finding a location in which to settle.[62] Naipaul had hoped to write a blockbuster, one relieving him of future money anxieties. As it turned out, The Loss of El Dorado sold only 3,000 copies in the US, where major sales were expected; Naipaul also missed England more than he had calculated. It was thus in a depleted state, both financial and emotional, that he returned to Britain.[62]

Earlier, during their time in Africa, Naipaul and Pat had travelled to Kenya, staying for month in Mombasa on the Indian Ocean coast.[63] They had travelled in rural Uganda to Kisoro District on the south-western border with Rwanda and the Congo.[63] Naipaul showed interest in the great culture, history and traditions of the Baganda people.[63] When Uganda's prime minister Milton Obote deposed, militarily, the President of Uganda, who was also the Kabaka of Buganda, Naipaul was critical of the British press for not condemning the action enough.[64] Naipaul also travelled to Tanzania with a young American he had met in Kampala, Paul Theroux.[64] It was upon this African experience that Naipaul would draw during the writing of his next book, In a Free State.[65]

In the title novella, "In a Free State", two young expatriate Europeans drive across an African country, which remains nameless but which offers clues of Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda.[66] The novella speaks to many themes. The colonial era ends and Africans govern themselves.[66] Political chaos, frequently violent, takes hold in newly decolonized countries.[66] Young, idealistic, expatriate whites are attracted to these countries, seeking expanded moral and sexual freedoms. They are rootless, their bonds with the land tenuous; at the slightest danger they leave.[67] The older, conservative, white settlers, by contrast, are committed to staying, even in the face of danger.[67] The young expatriates, though liberal, can be racially prejudiced.[67] The old settlers, unsentimental, sometimes brutal, can show compassion.[68] The young, engrossed in narrow preoccupations, are uncomprehending of the dangers that surround them.[67] The old are knowledgeable, armed, and ready to defend themselves.[68] The events unfolding along the car trip and the conversation during it become the means of exploring these themes.[67]

Writing of Guerrillas[edit]

In late December 1971 as news of the killings at Michael X's commune in Arima filtered out, Naipaul, accompanied by Pat, arrived in Trinidad to cover the story.[69] This was a time of strains in their marriage.[70] Naipaul, although dependent on Pat, was frequenting prostitutes for sexual gratification.[70] Pat was alone. Intensifying their disaffection was Pat's childlessness, for which neither Pat nor Naipaul sought professional treatment, preferring instead to say that fatherhood would not allow time for Naipaul's sustained literary labours.[71] Naipaul was increasingly ill-humoured and infantile, and Pat increasingly reduced to mothering him.[71] She began to keep a diary, a practice she would continue for the next 25 years.[70] According to biographer Patrick French,

"Pat's diary is an essential, unparalleled record of V. S. Naipaul's later life and work, and reveals more about the creation of his subsequent books, and her role in their creation, than any other source. It puts Patricia Naipaul on a par with other great, tragic, literary spouses such as Sonia Tolstoy, Jane Carlyle and Leonard Woolf.[70]"

Naipaul visited the commune in Arima and Pat attended the trial. Naipaul's old friend Francis Wyndham was now editor of The Sunday Times and offered to run the story in his newspaper. Around the same time Naipaul received an invitation from Robert B. Silvers, editor of the New York Review of Books, to do some stories on Argentina and Eva Perón. The Review, still in its first decade after founding, was short of funds and Silvers had to borrow money from a friend to fund Naipaul's trip. Naipaul also covered the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas, at the behest of Silvers, after which Naipaul wrote "Among the Republicans," an anthropological study of a "white tribe in the United States."[72]

Critical responses[edit]

In awarding Naipaul the 2001 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Swedish Academy praised his work "for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories."[73] The Committee added, "Naipaul is a modern philosopher carrying on the tradition that started originally with Lettres persanes and Candide. In a vigilant style, which has been deservedly admired, he transforms rage into precision and allows events to speak with their own inherent irony."[73] The Committee also noted Naipaul's affinity with the novelist Joseph Conrad:

Naipaul is Conrad's heir as the annalist of the destinies of empires in the moral sense: what they do to human beings. His authority as a narrator is grounded in the memory of what others have forgotten, the history of the vanquished.[73]

His fiction and especially his travel writing have been criticised for their allegedly unsympathetic portrayal of the Third World. The novelist Robert Harris has called his portrayal of Africa racist and "repulsive," reminiscent of Oswald Mosley's fascism.[74] Edward Said argues that Naipaul "allowed himself quite consciously to be turned into a witness for the Western prosecution", promoting what Said classifies as "colonial mythologies about wogs and darkies".[75] Said believes that Naipaul's worldview may be most salient in the author's book-length essay The Middle Passage, which Naipaul composed after returning to the Caribbean after 10 years of exile in England, and the work An Area of Darkness.

Naipaul has been accused of misogyny, and of committing acts of "chronic physical abuse" against his mistress of 25 years, Margaret Murray, who wrote in a letter to The New York Review of Books: "Vidia says I didn’t mind the abuse. I certainly did mind."[76]

Writing in The New York Review of Books about Naipaul, Joan Didion offers the following portrayal of the writer:[77]

The actual world has for Naipaul a radiance that diminishes all ideas of it. The pink haze of the bauxite dust on the first page of Guerrillas tells us what we need to know about the history and social organization of the unnamed island on which the action takes place, tells us in one image who runs the island and for whose profit the island is run and at what cost to the life of the island this profit has historically been obtained, but all of this implicit information pales in the presence of the physical fact, the dust itself.... The world Naipaul sees is of course no void at all: it is a world dense with physical and social phenomena, brutally alive with the complications and contradictions of actual human endeavour.... This world of Naipaul's is in fact charged with what can only be described as a romantic view of reality, an almost unbearable tension between the idea and the physical fact...



See also[edit]


  1. ^ : /ˈvɪd.jɑːˌdər/ /ˈsˌrə//ˌprəˈsɑːd/ (two words are concatenated in the second name) Meaning: vidiādhar (Hindi "possessed of learning," (p. 921) from vidyā (Sanskrit "knowledge, learning," p. 921) + dhar (Sanskrit "holding, supporting," p. 524)); sūrajprasād (from sūraj (Hindi "sun," p. 1036) + prasād (Sanskrit "gift, boon, blessing," p. 666)) from McGregor, R. S. (1993), The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary, Oxford University Press. 


  1. ^ a b "The Nobel Prize in Literature 2001 - V. S. Naipaul". Retrieved 2017-05-07. 
  2. ^ Naipaul 1987, p. 352.
  3. ^ a b Hayward 2002, p. 5.
  4. ^ French 2008, p. 12.
  5. ^ French 2008, p. 19: "In 1929, the year of his marriage, Seepersad began work as a freelance reporter on the Trinidad Guardian, ..."
  6. ^ Hayward 2002, p. 7.
  7. ^ French 2008, pp. 36–37: "Vido spent much of his time at Petit Valley with Pa, who would read to him and sometimes to other children: extracts from Julius Caesar, Nicholas Nickleby, Three Men in a Boat, ... Pa and Vido positioned themselves in an ordered fantasy world derived from European literature. ... Aspiration and ambition became the alternative to daily life..."
  8. ^ French 2008, p. 30: "Nanie had bought a house, 17 Luis Street, in the Port of Spain suburb of Woodbrook. ... This coincided with Seepersad's recovery from his nervous breakdown, and his success in 1938 in regaining his job as a Guardian journalist. It was decided that the Naipaul family ... would move to Luis Street."
  9. ^ French 2008, pp. 32–33: "The idyll could not last. In 1940, Seepersad and Droapatie were told by Nanie that they would be moving to a new family commune at a place called Petit Valley. ... In 1943, Seepersad could stand it no longer at Petit Valley and the Naipaul family moved in desperation to 17 Luis Street.
  10. ^ French 2008, pp. 40–41: "QRC was modelled on an English boys' public school, and offered a high standard of education. ... He enjoyed his classes in Latin, French, Spanish and Science. It was a highly competitive school, with metropolitan values. Caribbean dialect was ironed out in favour of standard English, although the students remained bilingual...."
  11. ^ French 2008, p. 90.
  12. ^ French 2008, pp. 92–93.
  13. ^ French 2008, p. 93: "When Vidia got back to England, he was in a bad state. Trinidad was off. 'The fact is,' he admitted, 'I spent too much money in Spain. And, during the nervous breakdown (yes, it was that) I had, I grew rash and reckless ... My only opportunity of recuperating from my present chaos is to remain in England this summer and live very cheaply.'"
  14. ^ Jussawalla 1997, p. 126: "At Oxford he continued to suffer. 'I drifted into something like a mental illness,' he would write."
  15. ^ French 2008, p. 123.
  16. ^ Naipaul 1983c.
  17. ^ Poore, Charles (5 May 1960), "Miguel Street", New York Times. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  18. ^ a b c French 2008, pp. 155–156.
  19. ^ French 2008, p. 161.
  20. ^ French 2008, pp. 171–172.
  21. ^ a b French 2008, pp. 180–181.
  22. ^ French 2008, pp. 186–187.
  23. ^ French 2008, p. 185.
  24. ^ French 2008, p. 192.
  25. ^ a b French 2008, p. 193.
  26. ^ Naipaul 1999a, p. 128.
  27. ^ Naipaul 1964.
  28. ^ a b French 2008, p. 201.
  29. ^ French 2008, pp. 201–202.
  30. ^ Dooley 2006, p. 37.
  31. ^ French 2008, p. 203.
  32. ^ French 2008, p. 230.
  33. ^ Dooley 2006, p. 44.
  34. ^ French 2008, p. 215.
  35. ^ Dooley 2006, pp. 41–42.
  36. ^ French 2008, p. 217.
  37. ^ Dooley, pp. 42–43.
  38. ^ French 2008, pp. 232–233.
  39. ^ Naipaul 1967, p. 133.
  40. ^ a b c d French 2008, p. 239.
  41. ^ a b French 2008, pp. 219–220.
  42. ^ French 2008, p. 240.
  43. ^ a b French 2008, pp. 241–242.
  44. ^ French 2008, pp. 243–244.
  45. ^ French 2008, p. 244.
  46. ^ a b c d French 2008, p. 247.
  47. ^ King 2003, p. 69.
  48. ^ a b c Dooley 2006, p. 57.
  49. ^ a b c d e Dooley 2006, p. 58.
  50. ^ French 2008, p. 248.
  51. ^ French 2008, p. 249.
  52. ^ a b French 2008, p. 250.
  53. ^ Dooley 2008, p. 55.
  54. ^ a b King 2003, pp. 77–78.
  55. ^ a b c d King 2003, p. 71.
  56. ^ Dooley 2008, p. 54.
  57. ^ Dooley 2008, p. 53.
  58. ^ French 2008, p. 257.
  59. ^ a b c d French 2008, p. 258.
  60. ^ a b c d King 2003, pp. 83–84.
  61. ^ a b French 2008, p. 270.
  62. ^ a b King 2003, pp. 84–85.
  63. ^ a b c French 2008, p. 253.
  64. ^ a b French 2008, p. 254.
  65. ^ French 2008, p. 255.
  66. ^ a b c King 2003, pp. 91–92.
  67. ^ a b c d e King 2003, pp. 87–88.
  68. ^ a b King 2003, p. 88.
  69. ^ French 2008, p. 295.
  70. ^ a b c d French 2008, pp. 300–301.
  71. ^ a b French 2008, p. 272.
  72. ^ "ROBERT SILVERS: We Do What We Want". Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  73. ^ a b c "The Nobel Prize in Literature 2001: V. S. Naipaul (Press Release)". Svenska Akademien. 11 October 2001. 
  74. ^ Greig, Geordie. "VS Naipaul: You might not like it, but this is Africa – exactly as I saw it". The London Evening Standard. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  75. ^ Said, Edward W (1 March 2002). "Edward Said on Naipaul". Archived from the original on 10 October 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2008. 
  76. ^
  77. ^ Didion, Joan (12 June 1980). "Without Regret or Hope". The New York Review of Books. 

Cited references[edit]


Singh, Bijender. (2018) ed. "V.S. Naipaul: A Critical Evaluation." New Delhi: Pacific Books International.


External links[edit]


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