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Download e-book for kindle: Authority and Authorship in V.S. Naipaul by I. Coovadia

By I. Coovadia

This ebook strains the ways that difficulties of inventive authority and authorship constitution the fiction and non-fiction of V.S. Naipaul and resonate in postcolonial literature. Imraan Coovadia argues that the post-colonial societies Naipaul experiences in novels such as A Bend within the River and Guerillas are outlined via the fragility in their authority. Coovadia demonstrates via shut analyzing, how Naipaul, born in Trinidad to an Indian kin and resident of the United Kingdom, asserts his imaginative authority over many alternative events around the globe via a posh literary rhetoric.

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Extra info for Authority and Authorship in V.S. Naipaul

Sample text

Even a slight wound could be fatal, because when a man fell his fellow demonstrators ran to him to force their hands in the wound in order to stain them with the warm blood of a martyr” (193). In a typically Naipaulian inversion of responsibility, the demonstrators are responsible for their own deaths, not the Shah’s police. That Naipaul reports hearsay protects his account from refutation, just as the imaginary land of A Bend in the River cannot be compared with the real history of a state or region.

Yet similar debates— think of the charged discussions of J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace or, in an earlier decade, Saul Bellow’s Mr. Sammler’s Planet—have been equally heated without the question of authorial competence emerging with equal urgency. One might disagree with Coetzee’s diagnosis of the South African situation in Disgrace or object to Bellow’s depiction of African American characters like the pickpocket in Mr. Sammler’s Planet, without denying their right and ability to represent such material.

In a kind of reductio ad absurdum of his many narratives of writerly apprenticeship, Naipaul even traces his fascination with writing to the physical artifact and not just to the book but to the printing apparatus. In India: A Million Mutinies Now (1990)—after having traced and retraced his beginnings as a writer throughout his career without having mentioned this particular reason for his choice of a career— Naipaul remembers that In colonial Trinidad…I had developed—largely through my father, a journalist—a love for print, the shapes of letters, the variety of typefaces, a wonder at the way words were transformed when handwriting turned to type.

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