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The Worst Quotes From V.S. Naipaul

A couple of weeks ago, I laid out some of V.S. Naipaul’s best quotes—of which there are many.

But many of us might know Naipaul from the long list of ridiculous, controversial things he’s said over the years. Seriously, some of this will make you do a double take.

Yep, V.S. Naipaul actually said this:

On E.M. Forster:

“Forster of course has his own purposes in India. He is a homosexual and he has his time in India… He just knew the court and a few middle-class Indians and a few garden boys whom he wished to seduce.”

 On Jane Austen and female writers in general:

“[I] couldn’t possibly share her sentimental ambitions, her sentimental sense of the world.” Then: “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.” Why does he feel that way? Because of a woman’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.”

On Uganda:

“Africans need to be kicked, that’s the only thing they understand.”

On the reading public in Trinidad (his home country):

“I can’t see a Monkey — you can use a capital M, that’s an affectionate word for the generality — reading my work… These people live purely physical lives, which I find contemptible… It makes them only interesting to chaps in universities who want to do compassionate studies about brutes.”

On everyone but himself:

“The melancholy thing about the world is that it is full of stupid people; and the world is run for the benefit of the stupid and common.”

You can read a few more over at Flavor Wire.

This Naipaul guy…wow. Racist, sexist, elitist…you name it, and he’s probably said it.

Just a reminder that you can be an amazing writer and still be a colossal jerk.

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. kamrynwhowanders #

    It seems like there are a lot of amazing writers who are huge jerks. I like to think about the nice authors instead, and live in permanent denial that good books can be written by bad people. Orson Scott Card, for example. LOVE his books. He is, however, kind of a terrible human being. I have conflicted feelings about that, and mostly I’ve just decided to get his books at the library instead of buying them so I can read them without giving him money. But then, I rarely buy books. I am consistently broke.


    January 20, 2015
    • Dominick Sabalos #

      Orson Scott Card is an unfortunate case.

      Have you ever read Terry Goodkind? He seems like something of a five star tosser, but he at least has the good grace to be a terrible writer too.


      January 21, 2015
  2. Or an artist.


    January 20, 2015
  3. So I guess there’s still hope for me?


    January 20, 2015
  4. 1banjo #

    You sound like someone who needs trigger warnings.


    January 20, 2015
  5. moosha23 #

    Whoa. This guy is…oh my days. I have no words. He’s horrible!


    January 20, 2015
  6. Dominick Sabalos #

    Obviously his comments about female writers in general is all guff, but I kind of agree with him on Jane Austen, at least.

    Currently there are plans for the next set of banknotes here to include a portrait of Jane Austen, and when they were first announced there was a (small) outcry of “feminism!”. I don’t care if a woman is on the new notes (not least because we already have a woman (other than the Queen) on the current ones), but I do rather wish they had chosen Charlotte Bronte.


    January 21, 2015
  7. Wow. V.S. seems to fall into the “he’s so smart he’s stupid” category, which happens to people who excel in one field with an intellectual component and come to believe their judgments on all matters, at all times, are equally as good.


    January 21, 2015
  8. “Just a reminder that you can be an amazing writer and still be a colossal jerk.” If that isn’t the truth, I don’t know what is!


    January 22, 2015

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