The Loss of El Dorado - 1969


Michael Rogers in a very brief review states: “The Loss of El Dorado (1969) chronicles how the belief that the mythical land of plenty lay off the coast of Trinidad— Naipaul’s birthplace— placed that country into the world’s vision, making it an object of desire for Spain and Britain as well as a haven for adventurers, slavers, and other undesirables.” Kevin Baldeosingh argues that The Middle Passage and The Loss of El Dorado “have caused Naipaul to be bad-talked in Trinidad by many academics and literary people.”

Jimmy Wallenstein in his thought-provoking thesis writes: “In The Loss of El Dorado, the refusal to accept the assumptions of national history along with the strict adherence to its boundaries are carried so far as to make it a work instead of antihistory, not an account of the past but a denial of the possibility of providing one.” Félix Aday Rodríguez Alonso in his thesis report highlights Naipaul’s prejudices in using harsher language for the Spanish than the English colonial policies. 


Robert Lorch sees the book “as literature in public administration.” Peter Marshall in his review perceptively states: “The history of Trinidad therefore appears both as a gross reality where incompatible customs and cultures express their conflicts through resort to cruelty, torture, and murder, and as an occasion for fantasy to flourish unchecked by the restraints of social and institutional conventions.”