Witnessing The Colonizing Process English Literature Essay

It was on this day of the month and at this peculiar location that Naipaul delivered Two Worlds his now celebrated Nobel credence address to the distinguished invitees of the Swedish Academy. Naipaul began his talk by mentioning Proust, harmonizing to whom a book is the merchandise of a different ego from the day-to-day ego of the individual who wrote it. In order to understand it, we should seek deep in our psyche, seek to retrace it at that place and so we would likely make it. It is in the visible radiation of this statement that we should near the life, or even autobiography, of anyone who depends on inspiration, and he concludes that,

All the inside informations of the life and the oddities and the friendly relationships can be laid out for us, but the enigma of the authorship will stay. No sum of certification, nevertheless absorbing, can take us at that place. The life of a author or even the autobiography will ever hold this rawness. ( Two Universes )

He so continued with a concise presentation of the history of his native Trinidad, the adoptive place of his parents and the other apprenticed Indian workers in the West Indies. It is like an incursion into the colonial yesteryear and postcolonial nowadays, an effort at self-discovery and self-understanding, an invitation to the two universes of his childhood his grandmas house and the universe outside which, by its excepting attitude allowed the new the new reachings to populate their ain private lives in their ain ways, in their ain attenuation India. In the universe outside immature Naipaul learned the basicss of his Indian heritage linguistic communication, traditions, faith and by run intoing his Indian Muslim neighbours he became cognizant of the being of the other. But the universe exterior was much more powerful. Even if the his seniors were detecting the antediluvian imposts and faith, forming ceremonials and readings of sacred Sanskrit texts, their hereditary religion receded, with a sense of non belonging to the present, and all possible links with India were severed.

We are witnessing the colonising procedure in a nutshell. Naipauls Trinidad is a widely distributed universe, surrounded by countries of darkness, where the Hindu meets the Muslim, the Africans or other people of African descent meet the Whites and the non-whites English, Portuguese, Chinese all surrounded by countries of darkness.

And here we come to another connexion we have been looking for: the authors motive of his subsequent trips to India, the beginning of his Indian travelogues, the kernel of the present survey. Naipaul testifies to his liability to Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi, to Rudyard Kipling and John Masters books on India and the British Raj, even the love affairs written by adult females authors.

( Un- ) volitionally we have touched upon a few of the construct we will develop upon: life and autobiography, the travelogue as literary genre, colonial/post-colonial literature, Orientalism, the recoil of the Empire all meant to pull a portrayal of Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, the Indian who shocked the Indians in his effort to happen his roots in the countries of darkness environing him and his universe. If a author, harmonizing to Naipaul, is the amount of his books, so, to mention Naipaul once more, each book [ aˆ¦ ] stands on what has gone earlier, and grows out of it. I feel that at any phase of my literary calling it could hold been said that the last book contained all the others. ( Two Universes )


Date: May, 2008. Location: Jamaica. Event: the Calabash Literary Festival. Nobel Prize Laureate Derek Walcott launches an unexpected onslaught upon his fellow Nobel laureate, Sir Vidia Naipaul. The unprecedented onslaught was dutifully mentioned in The Observer as follows: A evilly humourous verse form by a Nobel award victor has drawn more blood in a acerb feud between literary king of beastss. Equally surprising as it may look, Derek Walcotts onslaught on his Nobel chap triggers inquiries that merely happen replies in Naipauls Hagiographas. Walcott better known for his narrative verse form Omeros, profoundly indebted to Homers Odyssey and Naipaul a likewise feted novelist and travel author tantrum into the same image of postcolonial, diasporic authors. What is, so, the ground ( s ) of such a fierce and seemingly undue onslaught?

The Mongoose, is a extremely humourous, surprising onslaught on Naipaul, the adult male and the author. It was first read at the Calabash Literary Festival in Jamaica. Walcott attacks Naipauls composing technique ( ‘each knifing phrase is toxicant ) , straight turn toing two of his novels, Half a Life and Magic Seeds: ‘The secret plans are forced, the prose sedate and cockamamie / The anti-hero is a asshole named Willie. Here is a lengthier extract of Walcotts verse form:

I have been bitten, I must avoid infection

Or else Ill be every bit dead as Naipauls fiction

Read his last novels, youll see merely what I mean

A lassitude, nearing the obscene

The theoretical account is more boring than Devils

The essays have more bite

They scatter poulets like critics,

but each knifing phrase is toxicant

Since he has made that traping manner a prison

The secret plans are forced, the prose sedate and silly

The anti-hero is a asshole named Willie

Who lacks the struggle of a Waugh or Lawrence

And whimpers with his Godheads self-abhorrence…[ 1 ]

Such a violent onslaught by a fellow author invites to an probe into the biographical elements in Naipauls life which could ( un ) warrant it. Who is, so, Naipaul?

* * * * *

A biographical history may sound instead dry: eighty old ages ago, on August 17, 1932, the Nobel Prize Laureate Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul was born in Chaguanas, Trinidad, into a Hindu household, belonging to the about 145,000 Indians who came to Trinidad between 1845-1917. About 85 % of them were Hindus, and merely 15 % were Brahmins. Writing about the unfriendly response of the Indians by the local population of Trinidad, Bridget Brereton stresses the low societal place assigned to the new-comers by the plantation owners, functionaries, upper-class Whites, educated coloured and black Creoles and the black on the job category once they became cognizant that the Indians were at that place to remain. ( Brereton, 1981 )[ 2 ]

It is in this tropical Trinidadian infinite with its multiethnic population and multicultural ambiance that we find the account of a certain grade of preoccupation with, or compulsion of the marginality detected when reading his books, the authors experiencing that his native island, or the other states visited, and their dwellers Christian, Muslim, or Hindu are wholly irrelevant to the ( post- ) colonial Centre. During his boyhood on the island, Naipaul resolved to acquire away in five old ages clip. He was merely 12 so, and he kept his promise. At 18, he travelled to England to read literature at Oxford on a authorities scholarship, ne’er to return. A Knight of the British Empire, Naipaul was conferred the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001.

In Indians Abroad: A Narrative from Trinidad, Namit Arora provides extra information about the Naipauls. Obviously, Naipaul was non a hapless Trinidadian of Indian beginning. In malice of his documented extraction from the former apprenticed workers who had crossed the seas for a better, well-paid for occupation in the settlements of the British Empire, Naipauls male parent was a journalist and a author. His matrimony into the Trinidad based influential household of politicians and authors of Capildeo. Even today, situated about 11 stat mis off from Port of Spain, the small town of Chaguanas boasts the alleged Lion House Naipauls place of birth ( See Fig. 1 ) . Despite the Naipauls evident wellbeing, the missive exchange between Naipaul and his male parent more than frequently reveal fiscal troubles which Naipaul Sr.s meagre payments for his newspaper articles could barely cover. The same letters and other autobiographical histories intimation at the authors determination to understand his topographic point in the universe, and happen the roots of his society and people. He besides stressed the thought of the person, duty, pick, the life of the mind, the thought of career and perfectibility and accomplishment. Harmonizing to Namit Arora,

the subjects that bookmans see in his composing include post-colonial individuality and patriotism, the fiction of history and the history of fiction, place and belonging in a universe characterized by flux, motion and cultural contact. ( Arora, 2010 )

Fig. 1:

Naipauls household place and place of birth in Chaguanas

( hypertext transfer protocol: //themusingsofmonkey.blogspot.ro/2011/06/trinidad-tobago-aprilmay-2011.html )

Namit Arora admirations at the extent to which Trinidad informed Naipauls position that all those states he had visited and written about are half-made full of fury, craze, or mimic work forces trapped in narrow individualities, short on self-awareness, and inquiries the disfunction of Trinidadian society which either has constrained his manner of seeing, or expanded his powers of observation and analysis. In The Enigma of Arrival Naipaul remarks upon the impact of Trinidad on his accomplishment as a author:

The island with the wonder it had awakened in me for the larger universe, the thought of civilisation, and the thought of antiquity ; and all the anxiousnesss it had quickened in me the island had given me the universe as a author ; had given me the subjects that in the 2nd half of the 20th century had become of import ; had made me metropolitan in a manner rather different from my first apprehension of the word. ( EA, 153 )[ 3 ]

In Prologue to an Autobiography Naipaul develops on his beginnings as a author and the force per unit areas all the turbulences and moves exerted on him:

Half a authors work… is the find of his topic. And a job for me was that my life had been varied, full of turbulences and moves: from grandmas Hindu house in the state, still near to the rites and societal ways of small town India ; to Port of Spain, the Black, and G.I. life of its streets, the other, ordered life of my colonial English school, which is called Queens Royal College, and so Oxford, London and the free-lances room at the BBC. Trying to do a beginning as a author, I didnt cognize where to concentrate. ( FC, 26-27 )

The beginning of Naipauls composing calling when he was about 23 was materialized in his first novel, Miguel Street, published every bit tardily as 1959, after the success of The Mystic Masseur. It was written in merely six hebdomads, in 1955, when Naipaul was working part-time for the BBC Caribbean Service, and sends the reader back to the authors memories of his childhood and neighbors in Port of Spain:

Every forenoon when he got up Hat would sit on the bannister of his dorsum gallery and cry across,

‘What go oning at that place, Bogart?

Bogart would turn in his bed and mumble quietly, so that no one heard, ‘What go oning at that place, Hat?

It was something of a enigma why he was called Bogart ; but I suspect that it was Hat who gave him the name. I dont cognize if you remember the twelvemonth the movie Casablanca was made. That was the twelvemonth when Bogarts celebrity spread like fire through Port of Spain and 100s of immature work forces began following the hardboiled Bogartian attitude.

He was the most world-weary adult male I of all time knew. ( Miguel Street, 1 )

His first successful novel, which was awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize, was The Mysterious Masseur ( 1957 ) . The novel has obvious autobiographical undertones. The supporter has an unusual calling, from his problematic ‘mystic masseur gift, to a authors calling, and to a politicians development. What is of import about Naipaul is that his peculiar mode of stand foring personal experience is enhanced by a certain peculiar tone, which explains his attitude to see. He refuses the traditional base of the society and adopts an ironical or even sarcastic attitude which might propose there a touch of rebellion and protest. The autobiographical information is organized in a chronological and apprehensible mode. Harmonizing to Helen Hayward: The autobiographical component forms a significant constituent of Naipauls end product, looking non merely in explicitly autobiographical plants, but besides in fiction and travel books. ( Heyward, 6 ) As a affair of fact, Naipauls memories of his whole life experiences are covered in the autobiographical stuff, represented in his Hagiographas.

Naipauls 3rd novel, The Right to vote of Elvira ( 1958 ) , was awarded the Somerset Maugham Award. This satirical novel revolves around the election procedure in Trinidad, and describes the about commedia delarte fortunes informing theA democratic processA and the effects of political alteration. It is besides an incursion into multiculturalistA Trinidad, take a firm standing on the effects the election procedure may hold on the assorted cultural groups of Trinidad, which include non merely Naipauls co-nationals the Hindus but besides the Muslims, and theA Europeans:

Democracy had come to Elvira four old ages earlier, in 1946 ; but it had taken about everybody by surprise and it wasnt until 1950, a few months before the 2nd general election under cosmopolitan grownup franchise, that people began to see the possibilities. ( The Right to vote of Elvira, 1 )

In an interview published in Naipauls life written by Patrick French, we find a favorable comment by Lloyd Best, a Trinidadian economic expert and politician, who considers it Naipauls most of import novel. His statement is that

he [ Naipaul ] saw how the society worked, as distinct from how people thought it ought to work. [ … ] He was perfectly limpid as to how the political system truly worked, and how people really behaved ( Gallic, 2008 ) .

The Right to vote of Elvira was followed by A House of Mr. Biswas. Worldwide acclamation followed its publication in 1961. As it is the instance with Naipauls novels in which autobiographical elements prevail, it is about the Indo-Trinidadian supporter Mohun Biswas nisuss for success, his failures, and his concluding accomplishment of having his ain house despite his unhappy matrimony. Over and over once more, Naipaul is utilizing a personal, postcolonialA position to see a vanished colonial universe, his male parents universe.

In 1963 Naipaul published Mr. Stone and the Knights Companion. Set in London, the novel has thematic similarity with the earlier Trinidadian novels in its intervention of the battle of a weak supporter to get the better of his sense of supplanting. In footings of the crisis of cultural individuality, Mr. Stone, a 60 two twelvemonth old unmarried man bibliothec of a big house in London, is really much similar to the colonial expatriates in Naipauls earlier fiction. Mr. Stones conservativism is obvious: his neighbors cat which so frequently desecrates his garden is gruesomely dealt with, by… dunking the cats paws in oil, of singing the Animal by its tail and flinging it down to the paving below, of blistering it in boiling H2O. The keywords for this novel would be a pursuit for reclamation, and the secret plan of the fresh develops along the line of reclamation in the thick of decay and marks of at hand extinction. Environment is the cardinal characteristic of the novel for it reflects the hollowness and somberness of Mr. Stones life.

Multiculturalism is the chief characteristic of The Mimic Men ( 1967 ) . The supporters are an unusual mixture of races: Indian ( Singh ) , Chinese ( Hok ) , Gallic ( Deschampsneuf ) , African ( Browne ) . The basic job is individuality, which necessarily leads to the inquiry of race, and the multiple and sometimes unpleasant jobs of life in a society which is better described by its heterogeneousness. Is there a certain specificity of such a multicultural, multiethnic population? Have the autochthonal populations merely disappeared? There is merely one solution left to them: to copy Masterss in both in frock and attitudes. In an interview with Shankar Israel, Naipaul had this to state:

The people I saw were small people who were miming upper-class reputability. They had been slaves, and you cant compose about that in the manner that Tolstoy wrote about, even his backward society for his society was whole and the one I knew was non.[ 4 ]

Naipauls aggregation of short narratives, A Flag on the Island ( 1967 ) , includes a figure of pieces selected from his old novels ( The Enemy, fromA Miguel Street ) and pieces published in periodicals in England or the United States. The chief piece of the book is A Flag on the Island. Dedicated to Diana Athill, the book is prefaced by Naipaul himself who explains how the aggregation of short narratives contributes the undermentioned principle to his choice:

All but two of the shorter pieces in this aggregation have appeared in periodicals in England or the United States… A A Flag on the IslandA was specially written for a movie company. The narrative they required was to be ‘musical and amusing and set in the Caribbean ; it was to hold a prima American character and many subordinate characters ; it was to hold much sex and much duologue ; it was to be expressed.

Naipaul was awarded the Booker award for In a Free StateA in 1971. The construction of the volume is non so unusual if we consider his later travelogues: Naipaul includes three short stories the rubric of the 3rd one is inA In a Free State into a framing narrative. Its construction is symphonic, in that its different motions are working towards a non so clearly stated chief subject, which could be the monetary value of freedom.

The undermentioned novel, Guerrillas, was published inA 1975. Harmonizing to Paul Theroux, it is one of Naipauls most complex books ; it is surely his most cliff-hanging, a series of dazes, like a shroud easy unwound from a bloody cadaver, demoing the damaged and familiar face last. The location is a fictional island in the Caribbeans with a multicultural population, where the British continue to rule, and which reminds the reader of Naipauls native Trinidad: The island now is sterile, crowded, smacking with gas exhausts and the dust from the bauxite works. The specialnesss of annoyance are everyplace, for this is the Third World with her broken ground forcess and supine population, and with a retribution her cantonment followings.[ 5 ]There are mentions to the Trinidadian revolutionist Michael X, who is besides mentioned in The Return of Eva Peron and The Killings in Trinidad, a ulterior volume of essays.

A Bend in the RiverA ( 1979 ) was short-listed for the Booker Prize in 1979. The scene of the novel is an anon. post-independence African state, and its storyteller is an Indian Muslim tradesman whose remarks on the recent developments in Africa are those of a distant foreigner. Some of the referees of the fresh recognized him as a brilliant novelist, ( Wheatcroft )[ 6 ]A and A Bend in the River has been described a racy chef-d’oeuvre. ( Parker )[ 7 ]Some others were less enthusiastic and criticized the sentiments and point of views expressed in A Bend in the River. The same Wheatcroft accused Naipaul of neo-colonialism, and of an hereditary communal bitterness against inkinesss, while Whitaker references Naipauls inclination of imputing a cryptic malignity to the Africans.[ 8 ]A Harmonizing to Irving Howe, Naipaul has anA about Conradian gift for straining a narrative ; there is psychic and moral tenseness in the novel, which is earnestly involved with human issues, while Naipaul is non an vindicator of colonialism.[ 9 ]Harmonizing to Cudjoe, A Bend in the River is a close word picture of the gradual blackening of African society as it returns to its antique status of shrub and blood ; such a pessimistic viewA is a hint to the authors inability to analyze postcolonial societies in any depth.A The novel is an scrutiny of the stateless status of the East Indian in a universe he can non name place, following the supporters passage to liberate himself from the compressing ties to his societys yesteryear. ( Cudjoe, 185 ) After holding examined the Latin citations in the novel, Coovadia accused Naipaul of misquotes and the inclination to polarise the readers and to arouse fright, disgust and condescencion.[ 10 ]A Last but non least, Raja does non see him to be a postcolonial author ; to the contrary, Naipaul is cosmopolitan in that he offers an inside position of once submerged peoples for mark audiences that have metropolitan literary gustatory sensations.[ 11 ]( Raja, 2005 )

Published in 1984, Finding the Centre: Two Narratives is a aggregation of two wholly unrelated pieces: ‘The Crocodiles of Yamoussoukro is set in the Ivory Coast, where the writer feels at place, fascinated by West Africa and the Ivorian state which he sees as the centre of the whole universe. ‘Prologue to an Autobiography is the 2nd choice of this volume, and brings together Naipauls beginnings as author and memories of his male parent and native Trinidad. It is so a prologue to and a prefiguration of The Enigma of Arrival.

The autobiographical novel The Enigma of Arrival was published in 1987. Set in England, the novel allows Naipaul to ruminate upon his contradictory perceptual experience of the topographic point: foremost seen as frozen and unchanged, the milieus of Naipauls bungalow in England bit by bit unfold as invariably altering, where the dwellers go on populating their ordinary life isolated from the universe beyond. Naipaul besides analyses his ain changing of topographic points Trinidad replaced by New York, New York replaced by Oxford and the subsequent apprehension of his ain placement in an wholly new environment.

Naipauls last three novels A Way in the World, Half a Life, and Magic Seeds were written over a span of 10 old ages. Equally controversial as most of Naipauls A Way in the WorldA ( 1994 ) was short-listed for theA International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. At the publishing houses specific petition, Naipaul called the book a novel, though his suggestion for a sub-title was sequence,[ 12 ]and a figure of his referees preferred Naipauls sub-title.[ 13 ]Long listed for the Booker award, Half a LifeA ( 2001 ) is set in three continents: India, Africa and Europe ( London, Berlin and Portugal ) .A It follows the fate of Willie Somerset Chandran, the boy of aA BrahminA male parent and aA DalitA female parent who goes all the manner from India to England to eventually go a author and ends up in Berlin after holding spent 18 old ages in Africa. The subsequence to Half a Life is Magic SeedsA ( 2004 ) is besides set in India and Europe ( Berlin and London ) . The same supporter returns to India, gets involved with the Communist guerrilla, and eventually returns to London to fall in a suburban, upper-middle category vicinity, with all its defeats, and a permeating feeling of claustrophobia.


Travel and try composing represent the 2nd dimension of Naipauls work, widening over a span of half a century, since The Middle Passage: Impressions of Five Societies British, French, and Dutch in the West Indies and South America ( 1962 ) to The Masque of Africa: Glances of African BeliefA ( 2010 ) , an impressive sum of 19 rubrics which cover non merely the authors native Trinidad, the Caribbean Archipelago and India, but besides Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas.

The Middle Passage ( 1962 ) is the result of Naipauls ocean trip to Trinidad, British Guiana, Suriname, Martinique and Jamaica in 1961. One interesting item about the book is that besides his ain remarks on the states visited, he besides sends to other travel authors, such as Sir Patrick Michael Leigh Fermor, the celebrated British writer of travel books who was one time married to a Rumanian descendent of the princely Cantacuzino household. Writing about the book, Sybille Bedford came to the decision that its kernel resides in the perennial concurrence of historical misconduct with present and intrinsic human failing, being a description and account of the religious pandemonium and material defects of modern life in some post-slaveholding societies.[ 14 ]

It is an history of Naipauls personal reaction to those peoples encounter with and understanding of modernness. Here is a short extract on the cosmopolitanism of the Trinidadians:

Modernity, so, turns out to be the utmost susceptibleness of people who are diffident of themselves and, holding no gustatory sensation or manner of their ain, are eager for instructionaˆ¦ in Trinidad direction is now provided by publicizing agenciesaˆ¦ welcomed by the peopleaˆ¦because the advertisement bureau is itself a modern thingaˆ¦ If wonder is a feature of the cosmopolite, the cosmopolitanism on which Trinidad prides itself is deceitful. In the immigrant colonial societyaˆ¦ subjected for old ages to the second-rate in newspapers, wireless and film, heads are tightly closed and Trinidadians of all races and categories are refashioning themselves in the image of the Hollywood B-man. ( The Middle Passage, 47 )

All the perennial subjects of his travelogues are announced in this first travel book: bondage and race, colonialism and post-colonialism, the place of the South Asiatic Other in the states of acceptance. More than one time Naipaul-the-traveler has been compared to Conrad. Just like his celebrated predecessor, Naipaul was a globe-trotter who managed to capture the extent to which a foreign civilization with its depository of imposts and traditions is assimilated or non into a larger whole.

Two old ages subsequently, An Area of Darkness: A Discovery of India was published. It is a elaborate, instead glooming and to a great extent pessimistic history of the authors first ocean trip to India, the first travelogue of his Indian trilogy. The anecdotal and descriptive manner of the narrative is heavy with the acute disenchantment of the writer, and the feeling of ‘not belonging.

The 2nd volume in the trilogy, India: A Hurt Civilization, was published in 1977. It was the result of his 2nd visit to India, during the Gandhian Indian Emergency period ( 26 June 1975-21 March 1977 ) . There is no mawkishness in this portrayal of twentieth century India, the merchandise of centuries of foreign business and subjugation, be it the four hundred old ages or so of Muslim regulation, or one century and a half of British business. More than that, this trip to India is another escapade in self-discovery:

An enquiry about India even an enquiry about the Emergency has rapidly to travel beyond the political. It has to be an enquiry about Indian attitudes ; it has to be an enquiry about the civilisation itself, as it is. And though in India I am a alien, the get downing point of this enquiry more than might look in these pages has been myself. Because in myself, like the split-second images of babyhood which some of us carry, from the household rites that lasted into my childhood, apparitional memories of old India which for me outline a whole vanished universe. ( A Wounded Civilization, xi )

India: A Million Mutinies Now ( 1990 ) is the 3rd of Naipauls Indian trilogy and a more optimistic history of the writers brushs, a rapprochement with his hereditary land:

Change is present everyplace, India was now a state of million mutinies. A million mutinies, supported by 20 sorts of group surplus, sectarian surplus, spiritual surplus, regional surplus: the beginnings of self-awareness, it would look the beginnings of an rational life, already negated by old lawlessness and upset. But there was in India now what didnt exist 200 old ages before: a cardinal will, a cardinal mind, a national thought… What the mutinies were besides assisting to specify was the strength of the general rational life, and the integrity and humanitarianism of the values to which all Indians now felt that they could appeal. They were a portion of the beginning of a new manner for many 1000000s, portion of Indias growing, portion of its Restoration.

It closes the rhythm, and is a more optimistic history of India than the other two. Naipaul witnesses the eccentricities of Indian day-to-day life, over and over once more noticing on the Indians peculiar manner of get bying with the obvious poorness and perturb unusual to a Westerners oculus. It is a more optimistic book than the other two. In the last chapter, The House on the lake: A Return to India, the writer summarizes his experience during his 3rd visit to India, this being a rapprochement with the yesteryear and a sort of unexpected manner of inquiring for forgiveness.

Based on modern-day British and Spanish beginnings, The Loss of Eldorado ( 1969 ) is an scrutiny of the British and Spanish colonial aspirations in the basin of Orinoco during the gold haste, and the obsessional pursuit for gold which triggered the first European geographic expeditions of the country, with a peculiar emphasis on the expeditions directed by Sir Walter Raleigh. Then the authors involvement moves to his native, British-occupied Trinidad of the early nineteenth century, and to Venezuela and its peoples struggle for independency. Not wholly satisfied with the result of his quest for Eldorado, Naipaul reworked some of its stuff in a ulterior book, A A Way in the World, where historical narration is treated in a different manner, and is in portion rendered as fiction. ( Gussow, 1994 )

The Overcrowded Barracoon and Other Articles ( 1972 ) is a aggregation of essays in which Naipaul trades with the civilization and political relations of the barracoon historically, the impermanent parturiency topographic point where the slaves were kept until the reaching of the slave bargainers. But the essays are non precisely about the slave trade. The topics are chosen from different beginnings, such as Indian society, Trinidad and its traditions, the Black Power, John Steinbeck or Norman Mailer, and convey a feeling of psychotic belief and persecution.

Eight old ages subsequently, Naipaul published two farther volumes: a travelogue A Congo DiaryA and a volume of essays The Return of Eva Peron and the Killings in Trinidad. Writing about the latter volume of essays, Selwyn R. Cudjoe notes that Killings in Trinidad picks up four subjects from Naipauls earlier work: ( 1 ) the onslaught on Caribbean Black Power ; ( 2 ) the onslaught on sympathetic white progressives ; ( 3 ) the construct of colonial apery ; and ( 4 ) the inability of single colonial topics to liberate themselves from the enfeebling effects of their yesteryear. ( Cudjoe, 167 ) For Cudjoe, nevertheless, the essay added nil new to the thoughts he had presented in earlier plants ( 170 ) . Cudjoe is believing of thoughts like those in the 1970 essay, Power? where Naipaul argues that in the islands the rational evasions of Black Power are portion of its strength. After the crisp analysis of black debasement, the spokesmen for Black Power normally became mystical, obscure, and endangering ( 248 ) .

Equally controversial as all his public statements on Islam, Among the Believers: An Islamic JourneyA was published in 1981, and is a travellers history of a six month journey that took him all the manner from the UK to fundamentalist Iran, to separatist Pakistan, and every bit far as Malaysia and Indonesia. Naipauls thought was to near traditional, pre-Islamic states Iran, Pakistan and the other east-Asian states go forthing behind the traditionally Arab universe, and covering merely with what he called the born-again people. As it is ever the instance with Naipauls travelogues, we are listening to a choir of voices non ever in harmoniousness showing their positions on Islam: churchmans, like Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali, and lay work forces, even Communist, such as Bezhad in Khomeinis Iran ; bookmans and pupils of Islam of Indian beginning in modern-day Muslim Pakistan, to which the shepherds in the mountains added an antediluvian, pre-partition, and even pre-Islamic dimension ; the conversations with Malayan Anwar Ibrahim, a follower of Ayatollah Khomeini, endeavoring for the waking up of his people ; poets and Koranic bookmans in Indonesia, making their best to accommodate Islam with the old traditions of the state.

In 1989, Naipaul published A Bend in the South, a instead surprising going from antecedently alien locations, in his effort to understand the jobs of the American South, made easier by the authors Caribbean background. In this instance he deals with the African Americans the Blacks of the American South, and the book may be seen as a new apprehension of the writers perceptual experience of the South. Naipauls decision is surprisingly optimistic: far from the racial force the South identified with, he finds surprising links between the Southern States and the West Indies, detecting analogues between their histories and notes the differences which bondage and eventual freedom from bondage have made in the two countries. Naipauls memories of his ain civilization and its history attention deficit disorder footnotes to the narratives he is told but, more than anything, it is the people Naipaul meets and their ideas and thoughts which make this book so interesting and valuable. One hears merely a small of Naipauls ain tests with his wellness, with pollen-pollution and air-conditioning, but for him these things serve largely as reminders of the rough conditions in which the early colonists, sharecrop farmers and slaves, lived and worked. His focal point, about invariably, is on others and on the events and thoughts which shaped, and still determine, the Southern States of America.

Before turning his face to Africa, Naipaul wrote two more books on India, this clip in cooperation: Homeless by Choice ( 1992, with R. Jhabvala and Salman Rushdie ) and Bombay ( 1994, with Raghubir Singh ) , both published in India. Though India-oriented, they do non suit into the image of our survey.

Beyond Belief: Muslim Excursions among the Converted PeoplesA ( 1998 ) was written as a subsequence to Among the Believers: An Islamic JourneyA ( 1979 ) . Naipaul draws a differentiation between Arab states and the states of born-again peoples where the acceptance of Islam involves to some extent the acceptance of Arabic civilization. The book describes his five-month journey in 1995 revisiting four Moslem states: A Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan and Malaysia.

Between Father and Son: Family LettersA ( 1999, edited by Gillon Aitken ) is a surprisingly interesting aggregation of Naipauls personal letters which shed visible radiation on the authors formative old ages, since his sea ocean trip from Trinidad to Oxford, UK in 1950 to his male parents decease three old ages subsequently. ( See Fig. 2 )

Fig. 2:

Young VS Naipaul with his male parent and household

The kernel of Reading & A ; Writing: A Personal AccountA ( 2000 ) is found in two essays which form the nucleus of the book. The volume was reviewed by Laura Ciolkowski in The New York Times ( September 10, 2000 ) . The referee insists on ( 1 ) Naipauls advancement whose battles with the modern novel and its ‘metropolitan premises about society finally force him to clear up his ain literary undertaking and ( 2 ) Naipauls relationship to India and the complex literary and cultural heritage that has been the accelerator for his lifes work. Harmonizing to Laura Ciolkowski, there is a close relationship between the two essays, because Naipaul comes to see that the universe of the modern novel is predicated upon the charming disappearing of his ain colonial yesteryear: Unlike the metropolitan author I had no cognition of a past. The yesteryear of our community ended, for most of us, with our grampss ; beyond that we could non see.

The Writer and the World: Essaies ( 2002 ) is another aggregation of essays that cover Naipauls ferocious unfavorable judgment and sometimes much debated upon apprehension of the states he visited, such as India, his native Trinidad, Zaire. Jason Cowley, composing a reappraisal for The Observer, offers the undermentioned remark:

Reading these essays, it would be excessively easy to denounce Naipaul, as the author HB Singh did, as ‘a ugly flunky of neo-colonialism. His pessimism and agnosticism may annoy many Left-liberals, with their deep intuition of the hardwired urges of human nature, but he is ne’er predictable. You ne’er cognize how he will react to a peculiar person in a peculiar society, even in an Islamic society.[ 15 ]

In his extended reappraisal to the same volume of essays, Algis Valiunas remarks:

aˆ¦not every work seems capable of making felicity. A really cold oculus is required to take in and render a universe as difficult and acrimonious as this one, and Naipaul has spent a life-time cultivating the icy shrewdness for which his career calls. You can detect it in his new aggregation of nonfiction, The Writer and the World, which gathers witheringly sharp essays on India, St. Kitts, Anguilla, British Honduras, Mauritius, Trinidad, Zaire, the Ivory Coast, Argentina, Uruguay, Grenada, Guyana, Monterey ( where the locals are seeking to turn a vaulting horse from the John Steinbeck fable ) , New York ( where Norman Mailer is running for city manager ) , and Dallas ( where the Republican party is put uping Ronald Reagan for a 2nd term as president ) .[ 16 ]

Literary Occasionss: EssaysA ( 2003, by Pankaj Mishra ) is another aggregation of essays the writers contemplations on authorship and literature, germinating from Naipauls ain experience his background and history, his development as a author and his observations as a reader. Quite frequently they overlap, the same capable affair turning up in two or three different topographic points. And normally they do so to consequence, switching the position somewhat, perplexing the significance of the whole. Lynn Freed has the undermentioned remark:

In many ways, Literary Occasions is a testament to their shared love matter with linguistic communication. Naipauls male parent was a journalist. He besides published a aggregation of short narratives ( I read every new typescript my male parent made as the narrative grew. It was the greatest inventive experience of my childhood ) . Father and boy besides shared a kind of craze a nervous unwellness that in the male parent had shown up as a fright of extinction and in the boy as a terror about neglecting to be what I should be ( I was eaten up with anxiousness. It was the emotion I felt I had ever known ) .[ 17 ]

A Writers Peoples: Wayss of Looking and Feeling is another non-fiction book byA V. S. Naipaul, foremost published in 2007, in which Naipaul discusses how the work of other authors has affected his ain authorship. The book attracted unfavorable judgment in British literary circles for its uncharitable intervention of several noteworthy writers, and in peculiar ofA Anthony Powells novel-sequenceA A Dance to the Music of Time, particularly since Powell was an old friend of Naipauls. In his reappraisal of the book, Radhakrishnan Nayar remarks:

aˆ¦But Naipaul is besides, when he wants to be, a careful literary critic, full of galvanizing penetrations. His autonomous disdain for governments and schools is profoundly reviewing. In this book of essays he is noticing on other authors Flaubert, Anthony Powell, Evelyn Waugh, Derek Walcott, among others but he is truly stating us how he got the linguistic communication and the ways of seeing that have made his books the most provocative and barbarous literary analysis we have of the post-colonial state of affairs.[ 18 ]

Harmonizing to reviewer Thomas Meaney, The Masque of Africa: Glances of African BeliefA ( 2010 ) is a seeking enquiry into Africas past with an oculus to the hereafter. The book is a continuance of Naipauls old two books on Africa A Bend in the River and A Congo Diary and is an scrutiny of the Earth faiths that have survived the coming of Christianity and Islam. Over and over once more Naipaul remarks on both the beauty and the inhuman treatment of these ancient faiths:

The Masque of Africa is full of sacred Grovess and charming herbs but besides boiled cats and cut off Equus caballus caputs. For all his claims to keep no positions, Naipaul has hardly concealed his docket behind these portrayals of belief. The religious resources of Africa are, he thinks, like its natural resources, tragically limited and, in many instances, morally adhering. As if issuing instructions for how to construct a civilisation from abrasion, Naipaul tells us which autochthonal ingredients can be added and which must be kept out. It comes every bit small surprise that his ideal Africa turns out to be one capable of bring forthing a author like himself.[ 19 ]


Therefore far I have completed a bibliographical study of Naipauls 15 plants of fiction and 19 plants of non-fiction. From The Mystic Masseur to Magic Seeds, his fiction is a life-long hunt for an individuality. Whatever the rubric, the writer finds himself in his books, which compulsively take the reader to his native Trinidad The Mystic Masseur, The Right to vote of Elvira, Miguel Street, A House for Mr Biswas, The Mimic Men but besides to London, Berlin, India or Africa. His characters are of are either Indo-Trinidadians or Indians. On the other manus, the non-fiction books are journeys of ( self- ) find. Whether they are set in the Caribbean islands, in Africa, India, or America, Naipaul reveals himself as an Indo-Trinidadian, whose Trinidadian background explains his peculiar stance as respects the states visited. Some inquiries may be asked: To what extent did Trinidad slope Naipaul to see the societies he visited as half-made full of fury, craze, or mimic work forces trapped in narrow individualities, short on self-awareness? Did the disfunction of his ain society in early/mid-20th century restrain his manner of seeing, or did it spread out his powers of observation and analysis? Important as he is in so many ways, he is besides merely a adult male at times a grandiloquent 1 with his ain unsighted musca volitanss ; his early societal context remains important to understanding his rational journey. In The Enigma of Arrival, Naipaul wrote: the island had given me the universe as a author ; had given me the subjects that in the 2nd half of the 20th century had become of import ; had made me metropolitan in a manner rather different from my first apprehension of the word.

In Our Universal Civilization, Naipaul himself remarks on some indispensable, specifying characteristics of the Indians in Trinidad:

We were a people of ritual and sacred texts. We besides had our heroic poems and they were the really heroic poems of Java ; we heard them invariably sung or chanted. But it couldnt be said that we were a literary people. Our literature, our texts, didnt commit us to an geographic expedition of our universe ; instead, they were cultural markers, giving us a sense of the integrity of our universe and the alienness of what lay outside. I dont believe that, in his household, anyone before my male parent would hold thought of original literary composing. That thought came to my male parent in Trinidad with the English linguistic communication ; someway, in malice of the colonial disheartenments of the topographic point, an thought of the high civilisation connected with the linguistic communication came to my male parent ; and he was given some cognition of literary signifiers. Sensibility is non plenty if you are traveling to be a author. You need to get at the signifiers that can incorporate or transport your esthesia ; and literary signifiers whether in poesy or play, or prose fiction are unreal, and of all time altering. ( Naipaul, 1990 )

He besides remarks on the troubles his household encountered under the curious conditions of coercive indentureship, the contrasting state of affairss of the Indo-Trinidadians, an Asiatic people, populating natural, ritualized lives who all of a sudden had to rouse to an thought of their ain Indian history and to larn to populate with the thought of their political weakness. The societal accommodations they had to confront went along with the authors personal rational growing. ( Naipaul, 1990 )

The extent to which his Indian-Trinidadian background and the troubles mentioned above inform his apprehension of the Other and happen manner into his three Indian travelogues will be discussed farther on.


On Nov. 5 2012, The Times of India surprised the readers by bluffly saying: Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul has categorically declared he would no longer compose about India or its people, giving a daze to the World Health Organization who of Mumbais literary circles and glitterati at the on-going five-day literary festival here. ( See Fig. 7 )[ 20 ]

Fig 3:

( Naipaul says he wont write about India any more )

Naipaul, so 80, and accompanied by his married woman Nadira, was go toing Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest, where he ( Naipaul ) was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award. Here is a longer extract from this article:

Naipaul engaged in a traveling treatment on the challenges of travel authorship, his early battle as a budding writer, his experiences and geographic expedition of India, and the decease of his favored cat Augustus, presented by Dhondy last twelvemonth.

My background is Indian and I have ever been interested in it ( India ) , he said on his determination to go in India in 1962 for his following book An Area of Darkness.

When I started composing, I wanted my experiences to remain with me… I didnt want the clip to go through… the book was based on my internal find of India, he said.

Naipul so shocked and saddened the audience with his following comment. Stating he has written three books on India two novels and one essay every bit thick as a book, he declared he would non compose on it any longer.

I have written plenty, he said.

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