V. S. Naipaul's Journeys:
From Periphery to Center
in conversation with LOUIS CHUDE-SOKEI
This event includes a book signing
February 7, 2020
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store and Mass Humanities welcome SANJAY KRISHNAN—associate professor of English at Boston University—for a discussion of his latest book, V.S. Naipaul's Journeys: From Periphery to Center. He will be joined in conversation by LOUIS CHUDE-SOKEI, professor of English and Director of the African American Studies program at Boston University.
About V.S. Naipaul's Journeys
The author of more than thirty books of fiction and nonfiction and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, V. S. Naipaul (1932–2018) is one of the most acclaimed authors of the twentieth century. He is also one of the most controversial. Before settling in England, Naipaul grew up in Trinidad in an Indian immigrant community, and his depiction of colonized peoples has often been harshly judged by critics as unsympathetic, misguided, racist, and sexist. Yet other readers praise his work as containing uncommonly perceptive historical and psychological insight.
In V. S. Naipaul’s Journeys, Sanjay Krishnan offers new perspectives on the distinctiveness and power of Naipaul’s writing, as well as his shortcomings, trajectory, and complicated legacy. While recognizing the flaws and prejudices that shaped and limited Naipaul’s life and art, this book challenges the binaries that have dominated discussions of his writing. Krishnan reads Naipaul as self-subverting and self-critical, engaged in describing his own implication in what he saw as the malaise of the postcolonial world. Krishnan brings together close readings of major novels with considerations of Naipaul’s work as a united project, as well as nuanced assessments of Naipaul’s political commentary on ethnic nationalism and religious fundamentalism. Krishnan provides a Naipaul for contemporary times, illuminating how his life and work shed light on debates regarding migration, diversity, sectarianism, displacement, and other global challenges.
Praise for V.S. Naipaul's Journeys
"In V. S. Naipaul's Journeys, Sanjay Krishnan argues that Naipaul should be understood not as a reactionary critic of postcolonial cultures, but as someone who reported on them from the inside. Krishnan’s conclusions will be debated for a while to come, but his rigorous engagement with Naipaul’s oeuvre will reanimate the author for the next generation of critics." —Suvir Kaul, author of Of Gardens and Graves: Kashmir, Poetry, Politics
"Krishnan deftly navigates the ideological maelstrom that swirls around Naipaul’s reputation to deliver a fully grounded reappraisal of the relationship between the author’s work, his biography, and his political moment. This study sets new parameters for evaluating Naipaul's literary legacy." —Rhonda Cobham-Sander, author of I and I: Epitaphs for the Self in the Work of V. S. Naipaul, Kamau Brathwaite, and Derek Walcott
"Drawing heavily on archival materials made available only recently, V. S. Naipaul's Journeys: From Periphery to Center offers a defense and rereading of Naipaul by substantially reframing the objectives of his writing. Naipaul's work is unlike that of other postcolonial writers, contends Krishnan, in avoiding both easy position taking and the consolations of identity. Accessing Naipaul’s “ways of seeing,” Krishnan gives us a new, self-subverting Naipaul for the twenty-first century." —Timothy Bewes, author of The Event of Postcolonial Shame
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.
While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.
Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:
- Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
- Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
- Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.
Ordering a signed book by phone:
- Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
- If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.
Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.
Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!
Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.
I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.
More questions? Give us a call!
Harvard Book Store's Friday Forum series takes place on Friday afternoons during the academic year as a way to highlight scholarly books in a wide range of fields, with a particular focus on local scholars. Friday Forums take place at 3pm in Harvard Book Store.
Mass Humanities conducts and supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life in Massachusetts. Learn more at masshumanities.org.
Featured event books will be for sale at the event. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
Updates during COVID-19
Review our guidelines for visitors and other updates on hours and services at Harvard Book Store this summer.Learn More »
Shipping & Delivery
We ship anywhere in the U.S. and orders of $60+ ship free!Learn More »
Noteworthy Signed Books: Join the Club!
Join our Signed First Edition Club (or give a gift subscription) for a signed book of great literary merit, delivered to you monthly.Learn More »