Literary occasions : essays

by V. S. Naipaul

Hardcover, 2003




New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.


A rich collection of essays on reading, writing, and identity from our finest writer in English, V. S. Naipaul. Literary Occasions charts more than half a century of personal enquiry into the mysteries of written expression, and of fiction in particular. Literary Occasions brings together some true gems of literary criticism and personal reflection. Reflecting on the full scope of his career, V. S. Naipaul takes us through his beginnings as a writer: his boyhood experiences of reading books and his first efforts at writing them; the early glimmers and evolution of ideas about the proper relations of particular literary forms to particular cultures and identities; and his father's influence, revealed in an intriguing preface to the only book he ever published. These moving and thoughtful pieces are accompanied by Naipaul's profound and severe discussions of other authors, including his signal essay on Conrad, and the classic "Indian Autobiographies." The collection is completed by "Two Worlds," the magnificent Nobel Address, in which Naipaul considers the indivisibility of the literary and the personal. Sustained by extraordinary powers of expression and thought, Literary Occasions is both a subtle recollection of Naipaul's past, and the only available organized statement of his literary ideas. A valuable companion to last year's The Writer and the World, this is an essential volume from a man who has devoted his life to the written word. "From the Hardcover edition."… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Fledgist
Naipaul is as fine an essayist as he is a novelist.
LibraryThing member Cecilturtle
This series of essays was somewhat disappointing. Since many were written at various occasions, they are either very repetitive or, taken out of context, somewhat unsatisfactory. There are however nuggets of wisdom. I particularly enjoyed Naipaul's take on identity, the evolution of the novel and
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the need to redefine literature in a global context.
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LibraryThing member James.Igoe
From what I have read about him, Naipaul is a harsh person, so I approached this cautiously, but I found his prose thoroughly enjoyable, although I have currently shelved his fiction writing. I was interested in his perceptions as an outsider, an Indian immigrant in Trinidad, and then later as an
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immigrant to England on scholarship. In this I was completely gratified, as I felt it worked the empathy muscles extensively, expressed in clear prose.
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