Wednesday, March 29, 2006

vs naipaul shoots off again

2001 Nobel Prize winner, VS Naipaul is at it again - this time attacking some of the greatest writers in the English language.

Thomas Hardy is "an unbearable writer" who "doesn't know how to compose a paragraph.

Henry James is "the worst writer in the world"

Ernest Hemingway "was so busy being an American" that he "didn't know where he was"

Naipaul said all this to the Literary Review... Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy weren't let off either. And Charles Dicken was 'repetitive'. English writing, according to Naipaul, "is very much of England, for the people of England, and is not meant to travel too far".

Naipaul found time to moan, saying: "England has not appreciated the work I have done." Sir Vidiadhar must have forgotten that he is a knight of the British Empire. The 73-year-old did have some kind words though, for HG Wells, Mark Twain and Harold Pinter.

Born in Trinidad of Indian parentage, Naipaul has not been very kind about his place of birth, or Indian writers for that matter, once attacking them for their supposed 'obsession' with colonialism and oppression. "My life is short," he said, "I can't listen to banality."

"And this thing about colonialism, this thing about gender oppression, the very word oppression wearies me. I don't know why, I think it is because banality irritates me." The man was shaking with rage all the while, and Vikram Seth had to calm him down, without much success! To Naipaul, " If writers just sit and talk about oppression, they are not going to do much writing. And my difference on that kind of attitude is that I have to make a living by writing."

"Naipaul is fantastically rude," said an observer. When Naipaul won the Nobel in 2001, his contemporaries from the Caribbean were happy, though they not exactly dancing in the streets - the man makes such unbridled joy difficult. He once described India as an "unimportant" dot on the map lacking in creativity. In fact, it was him that saved the country from fetishism and ritual - or so he said.

Fellow Caribbean great Derek Walcott won the Nobel earlier and said of Naipaul's honour in 2001: It's long overdue, even if he's written some very harsh things about the Caribbean... I think his judgement of the Caribbean is erratic and strange, and often vicious in some cases." Walcott finished off with a statement that was bound to displease Naipaul: "He is a Trinidadian, he grew up there and he's a West Indian, though he may want to deny it."

Considering that Naipaul has abused nearly everyone/thing there is to abuse, those on the receiving end of his latest tirade are in good company.

3 Comments:

Blogger Ore said...

Hmmm, I must say that he is one of my favourite authors. Whenever I start to read any of his books, I can almost always guarantee that I will love it and can relate to much of what he writes.

Many of Naipul's criticisms are quite harsh and unfair, I think. And even when he might be saying things that many people have thought themselves, he often seems to choose to express himself in the most antagonising way possible.

11:13 am, April 05, 2006  
Blogger Bodega Blue said...

If reading the so called classics was such a good thing wouldn't the world be far better off already? Certainly all of our world leaders have gone to the best schools and read the classics. This is the question because it is not enough for a book to good simply on it's own. It must be measured somehow by the effect it has on the world.
So Naipaul is probably more right than he can imagine. Certainly for me reading Biswas has done far more for me in getting me to know myself and see the world than the better known classics I have bothered with.
In every world; professional, family, etc... there is this measured way of speaking: where I'm never sure of how anyone feels or thinks. I'm always happy when Naipaul speaks even when he seems unsure of his own thinking and is simply pushing buttons.

5:55 am, April 06, 2006  
Blogger a Geordie in Exile said...

Yes, he is pompous; haughty, vain, a tad eccentric,even racist perhaps and sometimes out of touch with we ordinary mortals but that doesn't detract from the splendour of his earlier work in particular.

10:11 pm, May 05, 2006  

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