Naipaul Dismisses Women Writers

VS Naipaul has had a tumultuous week. On Monday, he patched up a feud with Paul Theroux. On Tuesday, he said he knew of no woman writer, including Jane Austen, who could match his talent. Of Jane Austen in particular, he spoke dismissively of “her sentimental ambitions, her sentimental sense of the world”. “Women writers,” said the 78 year-old, “are different, they are quite different”, adding their writing is cursed with “sentimentality, the narrow view of the world”. He claimed to be able to discern the gender of an author within a paragraph or two.

Naipaul, who was knighted in 1989,l has form on the topic: almost a decade ago he lambasted India’s women writers, accusing them of banality. He also put many colleagues off-side when he declared post-colonial countries were “half-made societies”.

The Evening-Standard reports that Naipaul’s authorised biographer Patrick French concluded that his subject was a “bigoted, arrogant, vicious, racist, a woman-beating misogynist and sado-masochist.”

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