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    * V.S. Naipaul *

    وی اس نایپال


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    (Wikipedia) - V. S. Naipaul   (Redirected from V.S. Naipaul) Sir V. S. Naipaul TC Born Occupation Nationality Genre Notable works Notable awards Spouse
    Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (1932-08-17) 17 August 1932 (age 82) Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago
    Novelist, travel writer, essayist
    Trinidadian, British
    Novel, Essay
    A House for Mr. Biswas In a Free State A Bend in the River The Enigma of Arrival
    Booker Prize 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature 2001

    Patricia Ann Hale Naipaul (1955–96)

    Nadira Khannum Alvi Naipaul (1996–present)

    Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, TC (/ˈnaɪpɔːl/ or /naɪˈpɔːl/; born 17 August 1932), is a Trinidad-born Nobel Prize-winning British writer known for his comic early novels set in Trinidad, his bleaker later novels of the wider world, and his autobiographical chronicles of life and travels. Naipaul has published more than 30 books, both of fiction and nonfiction, over some 50 years.

    Naipaul was married to Patricia Ann Hale from 1955 until her death in 1996. She served as first reader, editor, and critic of his writings. Naipaul dedicated his A House for Mr. Biswas to her. Naipaul married Nadira Naipaul, a former Pakistani journalist, in 1996.

    Contents

    Childhood

    "Where there had been swamp at the foot of the Northern Range, with mud huts with earthen walls that showed the damp halfway up ... there was now the landscape of Holland.... Sugarcane as a crop had ceased to be important. None of the Indian villages were like villages I had known. No narrow roads; no dark, overhanging trees; no huts; no earth yards with hibiscus hedges; no ceremonial lighting of lamps, no play of shadows on the wall; no cooking of food in half-walled verandas, no leaping firelight; no flowers along gutters or ditches where frogs croaked the night away. "

     — From Enigma of Arrival (1987)

    V. S. Naipaul, familiarly Vidia Naipaul, was born on 17 August 1932 in Chaguanas in Trinidad. He was the second child of mother Droapatie (née Capildeo) and father Seepersad Naipaul. In the 1880s, his grandparents emigrated from India to work as indentured servants in Trinidad''s sugar plantations. In the largely peasant Indian immigrant community in Trinidad, Naipaul''s father became an English-language journalist. In 1929, he began contributing articles to the Trinidad Guardian; in 1932, the year Naipaul was born, his father joined the staff as the Chaguanas correspondent. In "A prologue to an autobiography" (1983), Naipaul describes how his father''s reverence for writers and for the writing life spawned his own dreams and aspirations to become a writer.

    The Naipauls believed themselves to be the descendants of Hindu Brahmins, though they did not observe many of the practices and restrictions common to Brahmins in India. The family gradually stopped speaking Indian languages and spoke English at home.

    In 1939, when he was seven years old, Naipaul''s family moved to Trinidad''s capital, Port of Spain, where Naipaul enrolled in the government-run Queen''s Royal College, a well-regarded school that was modeled after a British public school. Upon graduation, Naipaul won a Trinidad Government scholarship that allowed him to study at any institution of higher learning in the British Commonwealth; he chose Oxford.

    Education in England

    At Oxford, Naipaul''s early attempts at writing, he felt, were contrived. Lonely and unsure of his ability and calling, he became depressed. In April 1952, he took an impulsive trip to Spain, where he quickly spent all he had saved. He called his impulsive trip "a nervous breakdown." Thirty years later, he called it "something like a mental illness."

    In 1952, prior to visiting Spain, Naipaul met Patricia Ann Hale, his future wife, at a college play. With Hale''s support, Naipaul began to recover and gradually to write. She became a partner in planning his career. Her family was hostile to the relationship; his was unenthusiastic. In June 1953, Naipaul and Hale graduated from Oxford.

    In 1953, Naipaul''s father died. He worked at odd jobs and borrowed money from Pat and his family in Trinidad.

    Life in LondonPauline Henriques and Samuel Selvon reading a story on BBC''s Caribbean Voices in 1952. In December 1954, Henry Swanzy, gave Naipaul his long-awaited break, a three-month, renewable, job presenting that programme. Naipaul was to stay in that position for four years.

    "The freelancers'' room was like a club: chat, movement, the separate anxieties of young or youngish men below the passing fellowship of the room. That was the atmosphere I was writing in. That was the atmosphere I gave to Bogart’s Port of Spain street. Partly for the sake of speed, and partly because my memory or imagination couldn’t rise to it, I had given his servant room hardly any furniture: the Langham room itself was barely furnished. And I benefited from the fellowship of the room that afternoon. Without that fellowship, without the response of the three men who read the story, I might not have wanted to go on with what I had begun."

     — From, "A Prologue to an Autobiography" (1983).

    Naipaul moved to London in 1954. In December of that year, Henry Swanzy, the producer of a BBC weekly program called Caribbean Voices, hired Naipaul as presenter. A generation of Caribbean writers had debuted on Caribbean Voices, including George Lamming, Samuel Selvon, Derek Walcott, and Naipaul himself. Naipaul stayed in the part-time job for four years. In those years, Pat was the breadwinner in the family.

    In January 1955, he and Pat were married. Neither informed their family or friends. Pat continued to live in Birmingham and visited Naipaul on weekends.

    At the BBC, Naipaul appeared on Caribbean Voices once a week, wrote short reviews, and conducted interviews. Sitting in the BBC freelancers'' room in the old Langham Hotel one summer afternoon in 1955, Naipaul wrote "Bogart," the first story of Miguel Street. The story was inspired by a neighbour he knew as a child in Port of Spain. Naipaul wrote Miguel Street in five weeks. The New York Times said about Miguel Street, "The sketches are written lightly, so that tragedy is understated and comedy is overstated, yet the ring of truth always prevails."

    Early Trinidad novels

    Diana Athill, the editor at the publishing company André Deutsch, who read Miguel Street, liked it. But the publisher, André Deutsch, thought a series of linked stories by an unknown Caribbean writer unlikely to sell profitably in Britain. He encouraged Naipaul to write a novel. Without enthusiasm, Naipaul quickly wrote The Mystic Masseur in Autumn 1955. On 8 December 1955, his novel was accepted by Deutsch, and Naipaul received a £125 payment.

    In August 1956, Naipaul returned to Trinidad for a two-month stay with his family. Traveling by ship to Trinidad, he sent humorous descriptions of the ship''s West Indians passengers to Pat. By the time he left Trinidad, he had plans for writing The Suffrage of Elvira, a comic novella about a rural election in Trinidad. He wrote the novella with great speed during the early months of 1957. Naipaul copied out many of the reviews by hand for his mother, including the Daily Telegraph''s: "V. S. Naipaul is a young writer who contrives to blend Oxford wit with home-grown rambunctiousness and not do harm to either." Awaiting his book royalties, in summer 1957, Naipaul accepted his only full-time employment, the position of editorial assistant at the Cement and Concrete Association (C&CA). The association published a magazine called Concrete Quarterly. The C&CA was to be the setting for Naipaul''s later novel, Mr. Stone''s and the Knight''s Companion. Around this same time, writer Francis Wyndham, who had taken Naipaul under his wing, introduced him to novelist Anthony Powell. Powell, in turn, convinced the New Statesman''s Kingsley Martin to give Naipaul a part-time job reviewing books. Naipaul reviewed books for the New Statesman from 1957 to 1961.

    With promotional help from Andre Deutsh, Naipaul''s novels received critical acclaim. The Mystic Masseur was awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1958, and Miguel Street the Somerset Maugham Award in 1961, W. Somerset Maugham himself approving the first-ever selection of a non-European. Eventually, the novel would be produced as a film under the same name in 2001.

    The Capildeo clan with matriarch, Sogee Capildeo Maharaj, center middle row, maternal grandmother of V.S. Naipaul, with her nine daughters and two sons. They were to be the inspiration for the Tulsis in A House for Mr Biswas.Seepersad Naipaul, father of V. S. Naipaul, and the inspiration for the protagonist of the novel, Mr Biswas, with his Ford Prefect.

    For his next novel, A House for Mr Biswas (1961), Naipaul took for inspiration childhood memories of his father (later he wrote that the novel "destroyed memory" in some respects). In the novel, title character Mohun Biswas is propelled by circumstances to take a succession of vocations (apprentice to a Hindu priest, signboard painter; a grocery store proprietor, and reporter for The Trinidad Sentinel). What ambition and resourcefulness Mr Biswas has is inevitably undermined by his dependence on his powerful in-laws and the vagaries the colonial society in which he lives. According to author Patrick French, A House for Mr Biswas is "universal in the way that the work of Dickens or Tolstoy is universal; the book makes no apologies for itself, and does not contextualize or exoticize its characters. It reveals a complete world."

    The book consumed Naipaul. In 1983, he wrote:

    The book took three years to write. It felt like a career; and there was a short period, towards the end of the writing, when I do believe I knew all or much of the book by heart. The labour ended; the book began to recede. And I found that I was unwilling to re-enter the world I had created, unwilling to expose myself again to the emotions that lay below the comedy. I became nervous of the book. I haven''t read it since I passed the proofs in May 1961.

    Novels and Travel Writing

    "The emergency was over. And so was my year. The short winter was fading fast; it was no longer pleasant to sit out in the sun; the dust would not now be laid until the monsoon. ... India had not worked its magic on me. It remained the land of my childhood, an area of darkness; like the Himalayan passes, it was closing up again, as fast as I withdrew from it, into a land of myth; it seemed to exist in just the timelessness which I had imagined as a child, into which, for all that I walked on Indian earth, I knew I could not penetrate. In a year I had not learned acceptance. I had learned my separateness from India, and was content to be a colonial, without a past, without ancestors."

     — From, An Area of Darkness (1964).

    After completing A House for Mr Biswas, Naipaul and Pat spent the next five months in the Caribbean. As a result of this trip, Naipaul wrote The Middle Passage: Impressions of Five Societies – British, French and Dutch in the West Indies and South America, his first travel book. To gather material for the book, Naipaul and Pat traveled to British Guiana, Suriname, Martinique and Jamaica. In the book, Naipaul portrayed the West Indies as islands colonized only for the purpose of employing slaves for the production of other peoples'' goods. He wrote, "The history of the islands can never be told satisfactorily. Brutality is not the only difficulty. History is built around achievement and creation; and nothing was created in the West Indies."

    In early 1962, Naipaul and Pat went to India for a year-long visit. It was Naipaul''s first visit to the land of his ancestors. The title of the resulting book, An Area of Darkness, was not so much a reference to India as to Naipaul''s effort to understand India. For the first time in his life, he felt anonymous, even faceless. He was no longer identified, he felt, as part of a special ethnic group as he had been in Trinidad and England; it made him anxious. He was upset by what he saw was the resigned or evasive Indian reaction to poverty and suffering. Naipual wrote ''Mr. Stone and the Knight''s Companion in Srinagar. Before he left India, Naipaul accepted an invitation from the editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India, a prominent English-language magazine, to write a monthly "Letter from London" for the magazine.

    Tags:BBC, Birmingham, Britain, British, British Guiana, CA, Daily Telegraph, Dutch, England, Ford, French, Guardian, Holland, India, Jamaica, Life, London, New York, New York Times, Nobel, Nobel Prize, Oxford, Pakistani, Spain, V.S. Naipaul, Wikipedia


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