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Title: Orientalism in V. S. Naipaul's A Bend in the River
Keywords: Other, Orientalism, East, West, Africa, V. S. Naipaul, Representations.
Issue Date: Jul-2020
Abstract: This dissertation aims at analyzing the “Orientalist” ideas pertinent in V. S Naipaul’s novel A Bend in the River (1979), and at highlighting the debate around the author’s attitudes towards Third World nations, especially Africa. In 1978, Edward Said’s work Orientalism was published and quickly influenced the study of literature written by postcolonial authors. Yet, some of their literary texts were the cause of a huge debate among critics as they easily fit “Orientalist” ideology of their Western counterparts. One of the most controversial novels to ever exist is V. S. Naipaul’s A Bend in the River (1979), as many view it as modeled upon Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (1902). Throughout the pages of the novel, V.S. Naipaul introduces us to an Africa of ashes where the situation after independence is worse than it was in colonial times. Africa and Africans are darkly portrayed as savage people who live in a land of distraction. This attitude, however, created a debate among critics on whether Naipaul is in fact an “Orientalist” or not. In order to understand the concept of “Orientalism” and to highlight the controversy around Naipaul, the study is divided into three chapters. The first chapter provides a detailed overview of Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978), as well as the manifestation of “Orientalist” ideology in literatures about Africa written by both Western and Third World writers along with the responses of African ones. Chapter two deals with the critical reception of Naipaul’s ideology about Africa and Third World nations expressed in his works in general. Chapter three deals with the analysis of the stereotypical images of Africa and Africans in Naipaul’s novel A Bend in the River developed by a postcolonial author himself. Key words: Other, Orientalism, East, West, Africa, V. S. Naipaul, Representations.
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