AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 5, Number 2. May   2021                                Pp.39-48

The Value of Intertextuality in Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners and Naipaul’s The Mimic Men

University of Tunis, Tunisia
University of Shaqra, Faculty of Sciences and Arts of Sajer, Saudi Arabia


Studies on comparative literature have been fragmentary concentrating on one or two aspects of the thematic concerns of novels without emphasizing the concepts of divergent and convergent intertextuality. This paper aims to revisit Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners re-reading it in dialogue with Naipaul’s novel The Mimic Men. The selected novels are controversial. Criticism deployed on all fronts conveys the pluralities and oppositions that are in fact the novels’ hallmarks. Yet, the aspects criticized attest to, and confirm, the authors’ taking of the less trodden track. The comparative analysis within the scope of this paper will show that Naipaul’s and Selvon’s fictional representations of creolized Trinidadian and English societies highlight specific cultural and linguistic aspects and that intertextuality is either convergent or divergent. For instance, the structure of Naipaul’s text takes as much from Caribbean orature and the wake of Caribbean plantation culture. However, Selvon’s novel takes the form of flashbacks. Naipaul innovates and transforms Selvon’s structure to generate a Caribbean context, par excellence. Traces of Selvon’s style are present in Naipaul’s corrosive voice of representing Caribbean identity. Naipaul brings to an apotheosis the creative force already illustrated in the remarkable works of Selvon. This paper aims to track these traces and foreground the idea that texts can speak to each other. More significantly, this paper assesses the main characters’ fates to re-question the status of creoles, a status deliberately put between parentheses, denying them the right to voice their hybrid identities. Above all, the close textual reading of Galahad’s and Singh’s stories is meant to value the trope of intertextuality.

Cite as:

Mzoughi, I.  (2021). The Value of Intertextuality in Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners and Naipaul’s The Mimic Men.
Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 5 (2) 39-48.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol5no2.


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Imen Mzoughi is on secondment to the University of Shaqra, Saudi Arabia where she holds the position of assistant professor. She is the coordinator of the English department at the Faculty of Sciences and Arts of Sajer (2018-onward). She earned her Ph.D from the University of Manouba, Tunisia.  Dr. Mzoughi has presented many papers in different international conferences on diverse thematic polarities. More importantly, she has eleven published articles, which figure out in indexed journals. More significantly, she has organized two main conferences on interdisciplinarity and objectivity. Also, she co-edited the volume on “Interdisciplinarity beyond the Divide,” which appears in the first issue of Serial of Cross-cultural Issues ISLAI, Beja (March 2016). She was a fullbright scholar in Mississippi Valley State University, USA from 2008 to 2009. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8598-1754