Liz Mondel


V.S. Naipaul is often appreciated for his artistic sophistication and insight but criticised for perpetuating colonialist discourse in regard to England and the Third World. This essay seeks to explain, in particular, his textual responses to England and India, two cultural regions that have exerted profound and sustained influences on his literary and psychic development. It argues for the value of a psychobiographical reading of Naipaul’s texts in order to ascertain what it may reveal about the enigmatic complexity of his cultural loyalties. To date, postcolonial studies has shown a preference for social and political readings, but such analyses tend to focus critics on the contentiousness of Naipaul’s writings — on what he has written, rather than why. I contend that it is important to ask ‘why’ because Naipaul’s view of the world is inextricably tied to his colonial subjectivity.



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