V.S. Naipaul Revisited: Ethnicity, Marginality and the Triumph of Individual Will

V.S. Naipaul Revisited: Ethnicity, Marginality and the Triumph of Individual Will

By Bhoendradatt Tewarie
US$ 9.99
Book Description

In this collection, Tewarie delves into 6 of Naipaul’s fictional works: Miguel Street, The Mystic Masseur, The Suffrage of Elvira, A House for Mr Biswas, The Mimic Men and A Bend in the River. Naipaul’s world involves 3 cultures – the Old World Hindu culture; the Creole culture of colonized Trinidad; and the emerging global culture of modern western civilisation – and the protagonists of the 6 works examined in this book are all caught, to a greater or lesser degree, in this cultural crossfire.

In these novels, it is argued, Naipaul’s perception of the phenomena of ethnicity and colonialism are closely linked and there is a dynamic interplay between these two that is at once described and explored in his fiction. Ethnicity, for Naipaul, can be a double edged sword – it may help one to stave off the world but it can also constitute a terrible burden. As a central component in personality, ethnic concerns often involve a strong source of spiritual restlessness and malaise and help determine the protagonists’ view of the world and their attitude toward it. As a result, the protagonists often need to solve an identity crisis through a process of self-knowledge before they can re-engage the world. Haunted by the problems of marginality and exile with which the culturally displaced individual has to deal, there is always present in Naipaul’s characters a triumph of the individual will over external conditions, an assertion of basic humanity, and a rejection of ethical nihilism.

The ideas presented in V.S. Naipaul Revisited offer food for thought and are a welcome addition to the existing literature on Naipaul.

Table of Contents
  • Preface
  • Miguel Streetand the Need to Escape
  • The Mystic Masseur: Rise of a Colonial Politician
  • The Suffrage of Elvira: A Study of Politics in Pre-Independence Trinidad
  • A House for Mr. Biswas: Ethnicity, Culture, Geography and Beyond
  • Identity Crisis and Reconstruction inThe Mimic Men
  • A Bend in the River and The Assertion of Individual Will
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
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