V. S. Naipaul's Travel Anecdotes and Daniel Pipes' Historiography: A New Historicist Reading
Nobel laureate V. S. Naipaul (1932-2018) describes experiences of his travels from August 1979 to February 1980 to four non-Arab Muslim-majority countries â€“ Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia â€“ in Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey (1981). After sixteen years, in 1995, he revisitedÂ his impressions in Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples (1998). Since then, critics have debated the (in)authenticity of Naipaulâ€™s narratives in these travelogues. This article attempts a new historicist analysis of Naipaulâ€™stravelogues within the historiographical framework of Daniel Pipesâ€™ In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power (1983). It argues that Naipaulâ€™s anecdotes and Pipesâ€™ historiography are complementary in terms of their production in, and impact on, Western culture. Such anecdotal historiography, this article argues, is a reflection of the authorsâ€™ psychological and ideological position within the politico-cultural discourse involving the West and Islam in the post-Iranian Revolution period.
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