Walcott and Naipaul: History and Myth

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This lecture compares West Indian writers Derek Walcott and Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul on their attitudes towards history and myth. They are often considered opposites: not just rivals, but respectively a mythopoeic poet and a mythoclastic prose writer. This lecture finds that in their attitudes to the painful presence and painful absences of Caribbean history, and to the dangerous and helpful ways in which myth can deal with these, the two writers have far more in common than has been recognised.