Authority and Authorship in V.S. Naipaul

Hardcover | June 15, 2009

byImraan Coovadia

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This book traces the ways in which problems of imaginative authority and authorship structure the fiction and non-fiction of V.S. Naipaul and resonate in postcolonial literature. Imraan Coovadia argues that the post-colonial societies Naipaul studies in novels such as A Bend in the River and Guerillas are defined by the fragility of their authority. Coovadia demonstrates through close reading, how Naipaul, born in Trinidad to an Indian family and resident of the United Kingdom, asserts his imaginative authority over many different situations across the globe through a complex literary rhetoric.

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This book traces the ways in which problems of imaginative authority and authorship structure the fiction and non-fiction of V.S. Naipaul and resonate in postcolonial literature. Imraan Coovadia argues that the post-colonial societies Naipaul studies in novels such as A Bend in the River and Guerillas are defined by the fragility of th...

Imraan Coovadia is Senior Lecturer, Department of English, University of Cape Town. He is the author of two novels, The Wedding and Green-Eyed Thieves, and numerous articles, essays, and book reviews.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:192 pages, 8.28 × 5.72 × 0.63 inPublished:June 15, 2009Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:023061535X

ISBN - 13:9780230615359

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Authorship and Authority * Authority and Misquotation * The Cold Joke * Naipaul and the Black Power Killings in Trinidad * Naipaul and the Muslims * Naipaul and the Uses of South Africa

Editorial Reviews

“In this sharp and subtle book, Coovadia demonstrates that V.S. Naipaul’s authority as an interpreter of non-Western societies is built on a set of literary devices, such as the ‘cold joke,’ that pre-empt humanitarian fellow-feeling and help the reader laugh along with Naipaul at post-colonial suffering. In a series of brilliant close readings of his books on the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, India, and the Muslim world, Coovadia helps us understand one of the great rhetorical achievements of contemporary literature: Naipaul’s success in making his anti-liberal prejudices seem not just plausible, but prescient in a cold-eyed way.”--Mukul Kesavan, Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi and author of Looking Through Glass“What’s so satisfying about this study is its clear and precise identification of Naipaul’s mechanisms of pillory. This is a long-awaited reading of the classical allusions and gamesmanship that cuts to the heart of Naipaul’s own canonically traditionalist, colonial erudition—the intertextuality of his allusive depth, and the elitist stronghold from which he is able to, albeit ‘correctly,’ trip the less erudite, among both his characters and his readers. Coovadia’s application of the phenomenon of the ‘cold joke’ is brilliantly apposite in illuminating the ‘joke knowledge’ that underwrites the writerly Naipaul and his entanglement in the discourse of ‘race.’”--Fawzia Mustafa, Fordham University