Biography of Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul:- Writer of Indian origin, considered one of the greatest writers alive in English, whose ample work, humorous, satirical, costumbrista, replete with both tenderness and cruelty, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001. Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul was born in Chaguanas, a small town on the island of Trinidad, on August 17, 1932. His grandparents, Indians, had left the Ganges plains at the end of the 19th century and integrated into the reduced community of Brahmins -the highest caste in the hierarchy of Hinduism-that arrived in Trinidad.
Biography of Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul
- Born:- 17 August 1932 (age 84), Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago
- Awards:- Nobel Prize in Literature, Booker Prize, Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society
- Spouse:- Nadira Naipaul (m. 1996), Patricia Ann Hale Naipaul (m. 1955–1996)
- Nationality:- British, Trinidadian
His father, Seepersad Naipaul, practiced journalism in a self-taught way and maintained literary aspirations for several years; as it has happened in other familiar cases, it was not he, but his son, who received the necessary conditions of life to dedicate himself to the office of writing. (Also his brother Shiva, who died at age forty, in 1985, managed to earn a solid reputation as a novelist.
When the father got a job as a journalist in the capital, Port of Spain, the family had to leave the village and, at the same time, the few customs that still tied them to its Indian past. At age six, Naipaul went to study at Queen’s Royal College. But in the capital there were few Indian immigrants; the family of Naipaul was isolated, locking himself in his own house, as if they were foreigners.
In that house, Naipaul listened to the readings of his father. As he wrote, the father read several books at a time without finishing any, and did so less in search of the plot than to find, in certain writers, the special qualities of each. These readings (Shakespeare, Dickens, something of Joseph Conrad) were different from what the boy learned in school, and indeed richer than he did on his own: reading for Naipaul was a difficult task; the characters, the customs, the scenes that appeared in the books were too distant, strange to their own experience, almost incomprehensible.
Meanwhile, the idea of writing had already settled into it. When he decided he would be a writer, he was eleven; when he finally left his country, persuaded that he could learn to write in Britain alone, he was eighteen. What happened between the two events? Naipaul has talked a lot about those crucial years, the feeling of being a stranger in his own land, his inability to make friends in the strange city, his lack of understanding of where he was. “Very soon,” he wrote, “I came to understand that there was a world beyond, out of which our colonial world was but a shadow.” In that world was the possibility of writing, of being a writer; with this idea in mind he went through high school. He made some discoveries: his father told him stories about his own Hindu community;
Towards 1950 the possibility of the trip arose: the colonial government offered four scholarships consisting in the possibility of studying in any institution of the British Empire during a period of seven years. Naipaul won one of these scholarships; Traveled to Oxford and spent the next four years of his life there. Then he declared that he had not done so for the trip or the English course, but to give himself time to be a writer; but it would be more difficult than he had thought. Neither in those four years, nor in the following year, was able to write. And then, suddenly, the material of the stories that his father told him, the material of his own experiences, appeared to him as a revelation.
But other things happened during that time: in 1953 his father died; Naipaul suffered a nervous breakdown and attempted suicide; in 1955 he married Pat Hale, whom he had met at Oxford, and then began working as a radio broadcaster for the BBC’s Caribbean Voices program. Meanwhile, the publishers had read the stories of Michael Street , and pressured Naipaul to write a novel. Naipaul introduced The Mystic Healer (1957) and, the following year, The Suffering of Elvira . Miguel Street was published in 1959. In parallel, he had gained a position as a literary reviewer in the New Statesman. In three years, the young man of Trinidad was installed with full powers in the English letters.
It was then – was the year 1961- that, after the publication of A house for Mr. Biswas , Naipaul found the recognition of the whole world; Both the critics of the United States and that of Great Britain called the novel masterpiece and began to include its author among the great prose writers. Mr. Biswas’s story is undoubtedly one of the sharpest but most moving social comedies of twentieth-century English literature. Naipaul wrote it with his father in mind: Mr. Biswas is another form of Mr. Seepersad Naipaul: a Caribbean factotum at first, a self-taught journalist at the end, his whole life was a long enterprise: that of becoming a place in the world.
In narrating his story, Naipaul exhausted – although he did not know it then – the novelistic material that had taken from his island. Then, providentially, he received a commission to travel through the slave colonies of the Caribbean and write about them. “I had the idea that a travel book was a glamorous interval in the life of a serious writer,” he later said. And then: “The fiction, the exploration of our immediate circumstances, had made me go a long way. Travel would take me further. ”
The travel literature
That’s how it went. In the personal chronicle of his travels Naipaul found a new moral and aesthetic tool, an instrument with which to interpret the vast world that began to overflow in his imagination and that, surely, no longer fit in his novels. First were those slave colonies, transformed into The middle passage (1962); Then, in 1964, Naipaul published the result of a year of travels in India, the country of his ancestors, the country he had never been to before: An area of darkness . It is, even today, a study of incomparable lucidity; it is also the text that gave Naipaul his difficult reputation as a paternalistic intellectual. In it, the multiple forms of discrimination, poverty, Indian calamity are placed under the microscope,
From that moment, the travel and the writing of the trip constituted the main discipline of Naipaul. His novel in a free state he won the Booker prize in 1971, and the following year appeared the collection of essays the overcrowded barracoon: between fiction and essay, Naipaul moved with the same moral hardness and the same stylistic elegance. India: a wounded civilization (1977) is an intense study of one of the events that have marked contemporary India: the state of emergency declared by India Gandhi in the early seventies. And then came into South America, Africa, Iran, Malaysia and Pakistan.
Moved by the eagerness to understand and by a willful but honest curiosity, Naipaul began to tell the world like none of his contemporaries, and, in passing, to question the hegemony of the novel as a method of knowledge or simply as a reigning literary genre . “As a form, it is now common enough, and sufficiently limited, to be teachable,” he wrote. Among the believers (1981) it turned out to be a fierce foray into the world of Arab Islam; Seventeen years later, Beyond Belief , the chronicle of his travels by non-Arab countries of Islamic religion, closed the cycle. Both books relate a total picture of fundamentalism, of intimate and also public violence, of people and places on the brink of tragedy.
The autobiographical stage
After the masterful-and controversial novel-for Paul Theroux it was nothing more than a gigantic failure. The enigma of the arrival (1987), Naipaul became knight of the British Empire. No one can know how Sir Vidia received that honor; of him it has been said that he has wanted to be more British than the British, and he has been accused of Westernizing, that curious neologism, and of repudiating his roots. The enigma of the arrival tells the story of a young Caribbean man who arrives in England and is gradually transformed into a writer. The narrator and character (the novel is hard autobiographical) emerges from its three hundred pages almost invulnerable.
The awarding of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Naipaul coincided with the publication of his novel half a life (2001). For several years, his name had entered and exited the preliminary lists. Universality, cosmopolitanism, and global writing were spoken of as arguments for the decision of the Swedish Academy. Naipaul, from his home in Wiltshire, merely expressed his satisfaction. “The discovery of every tale is moral,” he once said; in his books is the record of that discovery. This, and no other, is the deepest satisfaction of his reading.