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Professor Emeritus @ University of the West Indies


Kenneth Ramchand is Professor Emeritus of West Indian Literature, University of the West Indies. He founded the Academy for Arts, Letters and `Public Affairs at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and was President of the UTT for one year before final retirement. His publications include The West Indian Novel and its Background, An Introduction to the Study of West Indian Literature, critical essays and introductions to West Indian reprints. He served as an independent Senator in Trinidad and Tobago and for twelve years wrote a newspaper column for the Trinidad Guardian, selections from which have just been published as Matters Arising. He remains active as Chairman of Friends of Mr Biswas, and as an outreach lecturer and casual essayist.

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Seepersad Naipaul’s Trinidad


Seepersad Naipaul: A Man of Letters Nevertheless

This presentation examines Seepersad Naipaul’s letters and other writings, as well as letters from his famous son to him in order to define him as a man of letters. V.S. Naipaul’s early ambition to be a writer and man of letters (declared and discussed in Enigma of Arrival) was stimulated by his father’s own ambition to be a writer in the British tradition. Up to the end of his life Seepersad was desperate to have a book published by British publishers since this would recognise his arrival as a writer and man of letters. In spite of this undying obsession, Seepersad Naipaul ‘s practice as journalist, cultural commentator, political analyst, short story writer, literary theorist and organic intellectual committed to causes in his society re-defines the notion of ‘man of letters’ and establishes a more native standard of what it is to be a man of letters than the colonial models that he never explicitly disavowed.