V. S. Naipaul, fully Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul

V. S.
Naipaul, fully Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul
1932
1996

Trinidadian-British Nobel Prize-Winning Writer

Author Quotes

They were a hospitable couple and they made a point (I feel for religious reasons) of offering hospitality to frightened or stranded foreigners.

We made no inquiries about India or about the families people had left behind. When our ways of thinking had changed, and we wished to know, it was too late. I know nothing of the people on my father's side; I know only that some of them came from Nepal.

Writers should provoke disagreement.

This is unusual for me. I have given readings and not lectures. I have told people who ask for lectures that I have no lecture to give. And that is true.

What I felt was, if you spend your life just writing fiction, you are going to falsify your material. And the fictional form was going to force you to do things with the material, to dramatize it in a certain way. I thought nonfiction gave one a chance to explore the world, the other world, the world that one didn't know fully.

Writing has to support itself.

Though it was a comfort on occasion to play with the idea that outside this place a whole life waited for me, all the relationships that bind a man to the earth and give him a feeling of having a place.

What matters in the end in literature, what is always there, is the truly good. And- though played out forms can throw up miraculous sports like The Importance of Being Earnest or Decline and Fall- what is good is always what is new, in both form and content. What is good forgets whatever models it might have had, and is unexpected; we have to catch it on the wing.

You can?t deny what you?ve learned; you can?t deny your travels; you can?t deny the nature of your life.

To awaken to history was to cease to live instinctively. It was to begin to see oneself and one?s group the way the outside world saw one; and it was to know a kind of rage. India was now full of this rage. There had been a general awakening. But everyone awakened first to his own group or community; every group thought itself unique in its awakening; and every group sought to separate its rage from the rage of other groups.

What Raja Ram Mohun Roy began as a reform movement early in the 19th century Devendranath Tagore made into a religion. It transformed the Bengali middle class. Rabindranath Tagore expanded that religion into a culture. And that culture became Nehru?s politics.

You need someone to see what you've done, to read it and to understand it and to appreciate what's gone into it.

To be a writer you have to be out in the world, you have to risk yourself in the world, you have to be immersed in the world, you have to go out looking for it. This becomes harder as you get older because there's less energy, the days are shorter for older people and it's not so easy to go out and immerse oneself in the world outside.

What was past was past. I suppose that was the general attitude.

You see, a writer tries very hard to see his childhood material as it exists. The nature of that childhood experience is very hard to understand?it has a beginning, a distant background, very dark, and then it has an end when a writer becomes a man. The reason why this early material is so important is that he needs to understand it to make it complete.

The reason is that they define how I have gone about my business. I have trusted to intuition. I did it at the beginning. I do it even now. I have no idea how things might turn out, where in my writing I might go next.

To be among the ruins was to have your time-sense unsettled.

Whatever extra there is in me at any given moment isn't fully formed. I am hardly aware of it; it awaits the next book. It will - with luck - come to me during the actual writing, and it will take me by surprise.

You would say that he felt that money had made him holy.

The wines are Saccone and Speed,? he had said. It was a merchant?s observation. He had meant that even there, in the centre of Africa, the wine had come from the shippers on our east coast, and not from the people on the other side. But in my imagination I allowed the words to stand for pure bliss.

To be converted you have to destroy your past, destroy your history. You have to stamp on it, you have to say 'my ancestral culture does not exist, it doesn't matter.'

Whatever they say about going back to the beginning, they?ll be interested in the car.

The world is always in movement.

To go back home was to play with impressions in this way, the way I played with the first pair of glasses I had, looking at a world now sharp and small and not quite real, now standard in size and real but blurred.

When I learnt to write I became my own master, I became very strong, and that strength is with me to this very day.

Author Picture
First Name
V. S.
Last Name
Naipaul, fully Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul
Birth Date
1932
Death Date
1996
Bio

Trinidadian-British Nobel Prize-Winning Writer