Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Naipaul on Austen, James, India and art

'What trouble I have with Jane Austen! Jane Austen is for those people who wish to be educated in English manners. If that isn't part of your mission, you don't know what to do with this material. There was a conference at Bath a few years ago and I was invited. I was a very bad conference guest - I didn't say a word. But they gave me a copy of Jane Austen's novel set in Bath - Northanger Abbey. In my recent illness I've been looking at books I haven't read before so I picked it up. I thought halfway through the book, Here am I, a grown man reading about this terrible vapid woman and her so-called love life - she calls it 'love', having seen this fellow once. I said to myself, What am I doing with this material? This is for somebody else, really. It's for someone down the road, not for me...' More


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