Citation
An area of darkness

Material Information

Title:
An area of darkness
Creator:
Naipaul, V. S. (Vidiadhar Surajprasad), 1932-2018 ( Author, Primary )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
The Reprint Society
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Edition:
[1st ed.]
Measurements:
288 p. ; 19 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
India--Social life and customs

Notes

Summary:
Curator Notes: An Area of Darkness (1966) is a semi-autobiographical account of a year that Naipaul spent in India in 1964. The opening section deals with the difficulties surrounding bureaucracy in the country. The rest of the book is divided into three parts. In part one, Naipaul speaks about his ancestors leaving India as indentured laborers. He also deals with his first experiences with the division between Muslims and Hindus. In addition, he explains the manifestation of caste, and although he elucidates the brutality of this institution he expresses sadness at the decay of old customs and rituals. One of the best known excerpts of section one discusses Indians' custom of defecating everywhere and their refusal to acknowledge the practice. Part two talks about his relationships with the various people who worked in the hotel in Kashmir where he stayed, and the ensuing conflicts. He explains the function of the Indian Civil Service. He also gives an account of his experience climbing the Himalayas with pilgrims traveling to the Cave of Amarnath the Eternal Lord. Finally, section three deals with the British occupation of India. He discusses Britain's manipulation of the raj and Kipling's accurate portrayal of the Anglo-Indian encounter. Finally, Naipaul concludes that, for him, India will remain an area of darkness, and that he values his status as a colonial without a strong and static past or set of ancestors. Reviews and articles on Naipaul's works are numerous and varied, roughly divided into two camps. Several critics resort to vitriolic abuse, accusing Naipaul of degrading the Third World in the interest of promoting neo-colonialism, while the prevailing evaluation of Western critics puts Naipaul at the forefront of contemporary writers in English. Friends of emerging societies fault his disparaging depictions of his origins; traditionalists of Western orientation are only too eager to have their own superiority validated. However, although they are tough to find, well-balanced literary assessments do exist.
Biographical:
Sir V(idiadhar) S(urajprasad) Naipaul (1932-2018) was born in Chaguanas, Trinidad, the eldest son of a second-generation Indian. He was educated at Queen's Royal College, Trinidad, and, after winning a government scholarship, in England at University College, Oxford. He worked briefly for the BBC as a writer and editor for the 'Caribbean Voices' program. He was the son, older brother, uncle, and cousin of published authors Seepersad Naipaul, Shiva Naipaul, Neil Bissoondath, and Vahni Capildeo, respectively. V. S. Naipaul was knighted in 1989. He was awarded the David Cohen British Literature Prize by the Arts Council of England in 1993 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001. He held honorary doctorates from Cambridge University and Columbia University in New York, and honorary degrees from the universities of Cambridge, London and Oxford. Naipaul died at his home in London at the age of 85 on August 11, 2018. His widow is Nadira Naipaul, a Pakistani journalist.
Inscription:
Carberry family signature.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Illinois at Chicago Library
Holding Location:
Special Collections, University of Illinois at Chicago Library
Rights Management:
All rights reserved with selected images digitized and displayed for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
1654019 ( UIC Bibliographic ID )
DS421 .N3 1966 ( UIC Call No. )

Related Items

Host material:
H.D. Carberry Collection of Caribbean Studies (University of Illinois at Chicago)

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