V. S. Naipaul's Journeys:
From Periphery to Center
in conversation with LOUIS CHUDE-SOKEI
This event includes a book signing
February 7, 2020
3:00 PM ET
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.
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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.
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