Salman Rushdie and V. S. Naipaul

Sara Upstone

in British Asian Fiction

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780719078323
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703229 | DOI:
Salman Rushdie and V. S. Naipaul

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This chapter explores the transition between migrant and British-born/raised positioning through the figures of V. S. Naipaul and Salman Rushdie, arguing that the common reading of their liminal positioning can be reconsidered to emphasise the transition from migrant to British Asian consciousness. Are Naipul and Rushdie British authors, needing to be read within the context of an increasingly multicultural British literature? They are not alone in being based for the majority of their lives in Britain but being born elsewhere, and both reflect their status as postcolonial, rather than British Asian, authors, in their principal concern for the trauma of migration. While each authors' characters straddle alienation and confident belonging, the authorial voice in both cases is testament to the latter. In this respect, marginality is only employed strategically: what Graham Huggan refers to as both authors' ‘staged marginality’. Both Rushdie and Naipaul capture a Britishness being changed to accommodate its ethnic citizens.

Keywords: Britain; British Asian; authors; Salman Rushdie; V. S. Naipaul; migration; Britishness; staged marginality; British Asian consciousness; British literature

Chapter.  9676 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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