VS Naipaul finds no woman writer his literary match – not even Jane Austen

In The Guardian:

VS Naipaul, no stranger to literary spats and rows, has done it again. This time, the winner of the Nobel prize for literature has lashed out at female authors, saying there is no woman writer whom he considers his equal – and singling out Jane Austen for particular criticism.

In an interview at the Royal Geographic Society on Tuesday about his career, Naipaul, who has been described as the “greatest living writer of English prose”, was asked if he considered any woman writer his literary match. He replied: “I don’t think so.” Of Austen he said he “couldn’t possibly share her sentimental ambitions, her sentimental sense of the world”.

He felt that women writers were “quite different”. He said: “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.” More: Also read NPR

In Boston Globe: A house for Mr. Sexist

The 79-year-old curmudgeon and author of “A House for Mr. Biswas’’ mixed egotism with obtuseness, saying that no woman writer was his equal, and that he could infallibly spot feminine prose “within a paragraph or two’’ due to its “sentimentality’’ and its “narrow view of the world.’’ To make sure nobody was left thinking he disparaged only contemporary women writers, Naipaul scorned Jane Austen for her “sentimental sense of the world.’’ More:

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