Sanjay Krishnan

Oct 19, 2023

Sanjay Krishnan on V. S. Naipaul

To Make the Deformation the Formation (JP)

New Books Network 2023

John Plotz of Recall This Book spoke in 2020 with Sanjay Krishnan, Boston University English professor and Conrad scholar about his marvelous new book on that grumpiest of Nobel laureates, V. S Naipaul’s Journeys.

Krishnan sees the “contrarian and unsentimental” Trinidad-born but globe-trotting novelist and essayist as early and brilliant at noticing the unevenness with which the blessings and curses of modernity were distributed in the era of decolonization. Centrally, Naipaul realized and reckoned with the always complex and messy question of the minority within postcolonial societies.

He talks with John about Naipaul’s early focus on postcolonial governments, and how unusual it was in the late 1950’s for colonial intellectuals to focus on “the discomfiting aspects of postcolonial life….and uneven consequences of the global transition into modernity.” Most generatively of all, Sanjay insists that the “troublesome aspect is what gives rise to what’s most positive in Naipaul.”

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43 Sanjay Krishnan on V. S. Naipaul: To make the Deformation the Formation

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Elizabeth Ferry and John Plotz

Free-ranging discussion of books from the past that cast a sideways light on today's world. Recall This Book is hosted by Elizabeth Ferry, Professor of Anthropology at Brandeis University and John Plotz, Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative.

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