From a master of the English language–winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature–a collection of essays about reading, writing, and identity. In these eleven pieces–brought together for the first time–Naipaul charts more than half a century of personal inquiry into the mysteries of written expression and of fiction in particular. Here are his boyhood experiences of reading books and his first youthful efforts at writing them; the early glimmers and the evolution of ideas about the proper relation of particular literary forms to particular cultures and identities. Here, too, is Naipaul’s famous comment on his putative literary forebear Conrad, and a less familiar but no less intriguing preface to the only book Naipaul’s father ever published. Finally, in his celebrated Nobel Lecture, “Two Worlds,” Naipaul reflects on the full scope of his career, rounding off the volume as an intellectual autobiography. Sustained by extraordinary powers of expression and thought, Literary Occasions is a stirring contribution to the fading art of the critic, and a revelation as well of a life in letters, in its many exemplary instances.
Literature-Fiction, Essays-Correspondence, Essays,