Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Links: The V.S. Naipaul is a pompous ass edition

Not surprisingly, V.S. Naipaul's comments earlier this week that he found no woman author equal to him have provoked an outpouring of comment. Naipaul went on to say that Jane Austen, in particular, was overly sentimental, and that his former editor, Diana Athill, wrote "feminine tosh." Let's hear it for open-mindedness and humility, Sir Vidia!

Here's a roundup of some interesting links about the controversy.

First, the Guardian's piece on Naipaul's original comments.

A few sum ups from American publications:

Delia Cabe in the Boston Globe

The Christian Science Monitor

A few responses from writers who happen to be female:

Diana Athill's response, also in the Guardian: Naipaul's attacks "just made me laugh."

The lovely Diana Abu-Jaber on NPR: From One Writer to Another: Shut Up, V.S. Naipaul

Jennifer Egan (no stranger to controversy about gender and writing) in the Wall Street Journal: "He sounds like such a cranky old man."

A Quiz

The Guardian included a quiz to see whether people could determine the gender of the writer by a paragraph, as Naipaul claims he can.

Take the quiz yourself.

I got 7 out of 10 right. What was more interesting to me was that there was only one passage (from Mary Wesley's novel Harnessing Peacocks) that I actually recognized, but it turns out that I'd actually read 6 of the 10 books on the list. (And of the 3 I got wrong, I'd read 2 of the books--go figure!)

About the photo:

I thought I'd be like the L.A. Times, which used a picture of Jonathan Franzen in an article about Jennifer Egan winning the LA Times book prize (and Jonathan Franzen losing it). So, I'm heading this with a picture of that pervasive sentimentalist, Jane Austen, so as not to have a photo of Naipaul on my blog. So there.

The Last Word

This last is a blog post linked by my old grad school pal, Kristen Lindquist, on Facebook. I'm grateful to her for it. I think this serves as an excellent final word, of the many that will be written, about Naipaul and his opinions.

Dawn Potter: A small response to V.S. Naipaul


siobhan said...

This is great. It's not been a good spring for men and their reputations -- but the upside is that there seems to be quite a bit of attention and understanding around women's issues, thanks to the antics of Naipaul, DSK, Arnold, etc.

Anjuli said...

oh my- some times you can't believe what people say-- I was glad that the responses were united in their realization this was a cranky old man who doesn't seem to know his head from his tail!

This just goes to prove that a great talent in writing does not necessary equal intelligence :)

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