VS Naipaul: No Woman Can Write Like I Can

Jane Austen's just too 'sentimental'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 2, 2011 3:20 PM CDT
VS Naipaul signs books in 1991.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – VS Naipaul might be one of the great writers of the 20th century, but he appears also to be a straight-up literary sexist, notes Gawker, which picks up on an interview he gave to the Guardian. In it, Naipaul says that no woman could write as well as he can; that he’s better than Jane Austen because of her “sentimental sense of the world”; and that he can identify a woman’s writing “within a paragraph or two,” because “I think (it is) unequal to me.”

“And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too,” Naipaul asserts. What’s more, “my publisher, who was so good as a taster and editor, when she became a writer, lo and behold, it was all this feminine tosh. I don't mean this in any unkind way.”

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