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VS Naipaul Is A Better Writer Than You, Especially If You’re A Woman

By Harriet Staff

While this isn’t poetry news, per se, it is a writing/criticism story that is astonishing in its . . . well, its . . . Good God: According to an article in The Guardian, British novelist and essayist VS Naipaul is at it again, this time letting us no there is no female author on his level. Not now, not ever. Here is a sampling:

In an interview at the Royal Geographic Society on Tuesday about his career, Naipaul, who has been described as the “greatest living writer of English prose”, was asked if he considered any woman writer his literary match. He replied: “I don’t think so.” Of Austen he said he “couldn’t possibly share her sentimental ambitions, her sentimental sense of the world”.

He felt that women writers were “quite different”. He said: “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me.”

The author, who was born in Trinidad, said this was because of women’s “sentimentality, the narrow view of the world”. “And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too,” he said.

He added: “My publisher, who was so good as a taster and editor, when she became a writer, lo and behold, it was all this feminine tosh. I don’t mean this in any unkind way.”

At least he doesn’t mean any of this unkindly. He is a scientist. Merely observing.

Posted in Uncategorized on Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 by Harriet Staff.