Authority and Authorship in V. S. Naipaul by I. Coovadia

By I. Coovadia

This booklet strains the ways that difficulties of innovative 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 asA Bend within the RiverandGuerillasare outlined through the fragility in their authority. Coovadia demonstrates via shut studying, how Naipaul, born in Trinidad to an Indian family members and resident of the United Kingdom,asserts hisimaginative authority over many alternative occasions around the globe via a fancy literary rhetoric.

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Additional resources for Authority and Authorship in V. S. Naipaul

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3 Here the humor is at the expense of Foam Baksh and his vehement support for Harbans as well as the inexperienced political culture of the Caribbean. As the line appears in Suffrage of Elvira, it is presented as a piece of “found comedy,” since Foam Baksh is himself the author. The joke may also appear in the more relaxed recital of a comic anecdote, which has a jokelike structure but is not explicitly declared as such. In The Mystic Masseur, the first book Naipaul published, the following self-standing episode appears in the narrative: Last Christmas Suruj Mooma take up the children by their grandmooma and this boy just come up to she cool cool and say he taking up dentistry.

6 This is a principal method by which Naipaul creates his imaginative authority and the transnational audience for that authority. For Naipaul, who writes self-consciously outside a national tradition, the joke performs the key function of binding his readership. Even if the Caribbean comedies are distinct in mood and content from the novels and travel narratives that follow, their rhetoric already orients them toward an international audience. One feature of the conclusion of Mystic Masseur prefigures a significant aspect of Naipaul’s later prose and may remind us of the use of Virgil in A Bend in the River.

The empire offers a set of ideals to which any of its colonial subjects can subscribe. * * * With this invocation of Ramsay Muir and his apologetics in the closing sentence of Mystic Masseur, then, Naipaul relies on knowledge that is not readily accessible to many, if not most, of his readers. 10 Perhaps because of the prereflective nature of the joke—to get a joke, after all, one cannot easily interrogate it and, to some degree, to analyze a joke is to destroy it in the process of inspection—the device attracts little attention in the theoretical literature on Naipaul.

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