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Naipaul, the iconoclast at it again!

Famous for courting controversies, the novelist this time has lambasted literary greats like Jane Austen.

india Updated: Apr 01, 2006 11:03 IST

Nobel laureate and novelist VS Naipaul, famous for courting controversies, has done it again by lambasting literary greats from Jane Austen to Charles Dickens.

According to Naipaul, born in Trinidad to parents of Indian descent, Henry James is "the worst writer in the world" and Thomas Hardy was "an unbearable writer" who "doesn't know how to compose a paragraph", reported BBC News.

Ernest Hemingway "was so busy being an American" he "didn't know where he was", Naipaul told the Literary Review.

The 73-year-old writer was not happy with the reception his works get in Britain, his home since the 1950s.

"England has not appreciated or acknowledged the work I have done. English writing is very much of England, for the people of England, and is not meant to travel too far."

In his interview, he criticises Dickens for his "repetitiveness".

Talking of Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey", he says: "I thought halfway through the book, 'Here am I, a grown man reading about this terrible vapid woman and her so-called love life.'

"I said to myself, 'What am I doing with this material? This is for somebody else, really.'"

Naipaul, however, was more charitable towards HG Wells, Mark Twain and his friend Harold Pinter, the most recent winner of Literature Nobel.

Talking to the same literary journal in 2001, Naipaul had accused EM Forster of being a sexual predator and described Irish author James Joyce as incomprehensible.