By I. Coovadia
This publication lines 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 by way of the fragility in their authority. Coovadia demonstrates via shut analyzing, how Naipaul, born in Trinidad to an Indian relatives and resident of the United Kingdom,asserts hisimaginative authority over many alternative occasions around the globe via a posh literary rhetoric.
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In the case of the Virgilian quotation, however, the irony is Naipaul’s alone and represents, as an insider’s joke, a cache of hidden authority. The novelist knows something that he chooses not to reveal to his readership. * * * In A Bend in the River, Naipaul ascribes elements of his own situation—as a postcolonial writer almost without a society and a literature to call his own—to three of the novel’s personages. 11 Although Salim’s community is Muslim rather than Hindu, and he is born on the Indian Ocean rim of Africa rather than in Trinidad, Naipaul goes out of his way to minimize the differences between his own background and that of Salim.
There is “no one like the slave for spotting the slave,” he tells us, “or knowing how to deal with the slave” (104). There is a rough and ready wisdom at the bottom of the pile that liberal outsiders ignore. Moreover, this lower world is dominated by fear and strength (“spotting the slave‚…knowing how to deal with the slave”). It is a world in which every black stranger is a potential threat. ” Salim’s version of slavery posits captives who the further away they got from the centre and their tribal area‚…the more nervous they became of the strange Africans they saw about them, until at the end, on the coast, they were no trouble at all, and were positively anxious to step into the boats and be taken to safe homes across the sea.
The “display,” of course, is just as important as the very sentiments of “power and hardness” because “display” coordinates and deepens group feeling among the more powerful faction. I argue that it is precisely such a display of “power,” and even more of “hardness” that characterizes the fiction Naipaul published in the 1970s about the new independent states of sub-Saharan Africa, including In a Free State (1971), Guerrillas (1975), and A Bend in the River (1979). For it is African material, far more than other disfavored objects of Naipaul’s attention like Islam and India, which attracts his coldest comedy.