V. S. Naipaul: The Mimic Men

(2623 words)
  • Matthew Whittle (University of Manchester)

In his Nobel Lecture from December 7th 2001, entitled “Two Worlds”, Naipaul described The Mimic Men (1967) as being:

[A]bout colonial shame and fantasy, a book, in fact, about how the powerless lie about themselves, since it is their only resource. [...] [I]t was not about mimics. It was about colonial men mimicking the conditions of manhood, men who had grown to distrust everything about themselves.

“Mimicry” in Naipaul’s novel is thus the appropriation by “colonial men” – a general term for colonised subjects – of the power structures upon which colonialism has been built and continues to be upheld. Throughout the text, such power structures are presented in t…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Whittle, Matthew. "The Mimic Men". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 November 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=170, accessed 27 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Postcolonial literature - Britain, The Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand